…and things are not as they should be. These words from my favourite Shakespeare play (Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 5) come to mind as I try to walk off the Christmas cheer. We have never known such a warm December, the daffodils are out, and I have roses on my Christmas table, and honesty, clematis and poppies in flower in my garden. Whilst it is nice to enjoy the lack of winter clothing and a relief not to be running the heating, it just doesn’t feel right; it doesn’t feel good.
Nature’s notes are like a barometer. The click, click, click of seasonal shifts are welcome markers in our year; the first snowdrops and crocuses, the first brimstone butterfly, the coming of the swallows and the first swift, then the autumn flowers, the migration, the arrival of winter starlings, redwings and fieldfares, and winter ice and snow. These departures and arrivals mark the closing down of the year and the preparation for the new one. We feel a sense of security in this expected sequence of events. We expect it to be cold now but instead it is mild and wet, we want to batten down the hatches and huddle around a log fire. We do not expect or want to see summer flowers in bloom or to feel extra hot in our Christmas jumpers. The changes worry us; all is not well.
Outside, nature is making a bold statement; our climate is changing and not for the better. Flooding and other freak weather is reported more frequently and it is becoming harder to predict what is coming next. All this in a season of excess: of wasteful products, food and packaging. This uncharacteristic warmth is a timely wake-up call urging us to reconsider our wasteful consumptive practices; reminding us that our atmosphere and environment have to bear the cost and ultimately us too.