III. SummerWhen the train of seasons enters summer, say June to July, things appear to slow down; August is almost a stand still, before the pace begins to pick up again September. The days burn away under an unbelievably blue sky in Bavaria. A sky I have seen only in my youth. Is it age, fading eyesight or something else? Nowadays, the skies seem no longer that blue.
At home, people walk about in undershirts and bathing trunks, protecting the bare shoulders with sunscreen. It doesn’t prevent the skin to peel later on.
High pressure conditions give people a headache and on critical days, even the operating theatres stop surgery. It is caused by the north-African Sirocco; after crossing the Mediterranean and rolling down the Alps, the winds create a layered micro climate of warm and cooler air, that slowly circles around thermal pillars. The ideal weather to fly a glider. But headache or not, the schools stay open all the time – which is too bad. Then again, the prospects are fine: six weeks of school holidays lie ahead.
The leafs of the weeping willows seem to lap up water from the tardy and shallow running river. Ideal hiding places for us kids. The daring ford the river, hopping across the rocks and cobble stones. Nobody worries about drowning. The local parks and gardens get an overhaul and scream out in apple blossoms, lilac, conventional roses, petunias, hydrangeas, periwinkle, daisies, dandelions (edible), nettles (edible as well) and asters, not to forget the stringy shrub rose. It is a rather unkempt mix of exotic and native flowers and bushes, interspersed with visitors from the “sub-arctic” (is there such a thing?), the ghostly, white-trunked birches – guests from Siberia. The lower incomes fringe their gardens with boxwood; uppity upper incomes lay out a narrowing cypress alley – leading to the garage.
Towards September oval patches of “germander speedwell” (I had to look this up) creep into the moisture of the sweating lawns. It’s a weed, but a pretty, densely interwoven carpet of tiny leafless blooms in a faded violet mirroring the thunderclouds from above. After rain and thunder the patches are gone as soon as they had had appeared.