Finally we have had a day of relatively sparse rainfall and more sunshine than we have seen in a while. The gusty breezes are a constant companion and have been throughout August. Such temperamental weather contributes to the greenness of this Fair Isle but I haven’t seen an August quite as cool and grey as this in a while. Of course I have spent the previous four years in Southern Spain, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada range in Andalucia. Summers there are so hot that there is little anyone can do before nightfall. Barely anyone works during August. A lot of people return home to their families in the mountains, to the villages where the employment opportunities are so poor that the majority of people leave for the coast to earn a living. During August they feel the pull back to the mountains and so the village population almost triples and its streets become as lively as they must once have been in better times. Once the sun has set there is a slight relief from the relentless heat of the day, often accompanied by a delightful breeze. Groups of women and groups of men (rarely mixed) set off on walks out of the village up towards the pines on the beacon or out towards the olive and wine fields. I often walked with a friend out towards the large threshing circle at the edge of the village and without fail, every time we turned the corner that took us out of sight of the village and closer to the fields, we would be met by that delicious breeze and throw our arms up and whirl around in its refreshing embrace. A simple but so effective reminder of the mercy of God.
Now I am in England and the wind is unrelenting at the moment and it is often tempting to complain and wish for more sunshine but here too there is mercy and provision. What better help could I hope for as I write my dissertation late into the night becoming ever more bleary-eyed? There is nothing better than to go in the garden and let that chilly wind wake me up. It’s what I need to do right now as I need to be writing well past midnight tonight. Of course, a good cup of tea is another great remedy. Alhamdulillah for cool breezes that bring relief in the heat, for chilly winds that help keep me awake, and for the good old English cup of tea!