The First of the Summer Sun

SunscapeReclaim the parks, reclaim the streets! After a long and cruel winter, we cannot help but be surprised by the first days of summer sun. Appearing as if from nowhere, it reveals to us a resplendent parallel city that has remained hidden for months, cloaked in the cold, locked up inside forbidding grey stone tenements, which, as if by magic, are no longer grey. Basking in the warmth of the sun, we are struck by the colours of their sandstone: golden yellows and ochre, earthy terracotta. No longer pockets of warmth in which to seek refuge from the elements and the harsh Scottish climate, buildings have become cool spaces to which to retire at the end of the day, places to share a meal with friends, or quench your thirst with some cold beers, enjoying the dying embers of the day as a refreshing breeze enters through the window and circulates around the room.

How happy it makes us to see our parks and streets awash with colour, to smell the appetising aroma of smoke wafting from barbeques hidden behind garden walls. After so many months, you’d think we’d have forgotten, that we’d be a little rusty, but being in the sun is something that comes naturally to us, sometimes a little too much so. Carried away by a sense of urgency—for days like this are so precious and so few, we are inevitably filled with a compulsion to make the most of them—we are amazed to see so much raw flesh, pale and milky, hungry for the sun. And who cannot help but raise a wry smile when, returning to work on Monday morning to find that at least one of their colleagues has overdone it; that their face has turned shiny, bright red—the office lobster.

The sun reveals to us a different Scotland, one which in the winter months we are perhaps wont to forget. Sitting on a traffic-clogged motorway, we notice once again that the vegetation has begun to thrive. Looking out over the Firth of Forth, we can see the azure waters of our own riviera, and as we stop to eat fish and chips down by the harbour, we savour the taste of our own fruits de mer. Dipping our feet into the icy water, we feel alive once again and find a piece of mind we thought we had lost, a newfound optimism, a feeling that things aren’t so bad after all. And for the first time in some months, we smile: warm, nourished, expectant, ready for the summer to take hold.

 

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