Unsuitable blog and HappenStance news
Matt Merritt sent me this, after reading the last post:
"There's another old British name for Indian summer, which you almost touch upon. It used to be known as 'Goose Summer', probably because it was a time of year at which fattened geese were slaughtered for eating. It's also possibly because it coincided with the annual arrival of huge flocks of wild geese and swans from their Arctic breeding grounds - the main migration is usually in October.
Someone in the Post Office (where I was spending a small fortune posting boxes and packets of pamphlets) referred to this lovely 'Indian Summer' -- that term we use to describe a period of warmth and sunshine, after 'summer' is officially over. It's been gorgeous this week, though in Scotland, this morning, it has given way to thick grey cloud again. Why Indian? I thought I'd look it up.
Immediately I discovered it wasn't a 'true' Indian summer this last week. True Indian summer has to be after the first proper frost, so we're talking October or November. And anyway, the term 'Indian' summer only began to be widely used in the UK, according to Wikipedia, in the twentieth century, when American influence became more potent than European, the 'Indian' deriving from Native American references.
Although the Autumnal Equinox isn't until September 23rd, Autumn has arrived. The rowan berries are brilliant and gleaming, in wind wild enough to bring the leaves down in swathes. Oh hang on, you leaves, a little while longer! The nasturtiums are fantastic too -- such value for money these glorious little flowers, yellow and orange and red, They spring up every year without seeding or feeding. They love late August sun and I love them.
It's very interesting flying between international cities, becoming aware how simple these things are -- if you have time and money. I love the bits of time that isolate themselves like islands -- the bits when no-one except yourself quite knows where you are or what you're doing.
Yesterday a day of nearly no HappenStance. It was Gillian's birthday (that's Gillian who does nearly all the cover images for HappenStance), so I got up, did a couple of orders and the cheques to go to the bank, then started the birthday cake. When I opened the cupboard several things felt out, including the balsamic vinegar. The top blew off and it spattered all over my face, hair and t-shirt.
I feel this week as though I've read more poetry than anybody else in the world. It's an enriching experience, in some ways, reading a great deal of verse -- I mean bookfuls every day. At the same time, it's frustrating because what I really like is spending time with an individual poem, turning it inside out, trying it on for size. Perhaps that's why I like doing the pamphlets: typing out each poem by hand, getting the feel of it, hanging it outside on the line to dry.