Sunset, Wheatfield Near Arles
Vincent Van Gogh, 1888
One of my favourite short stories by Ray Bradbury is "All Summer in a Day". It is the story about a little girl named Margot, who has recently moved to the planet Venus, where the sun is only visible for two hours, every seven years. She is the only one in her class to remember sunshine, and the other children don't believe her when she describes the sun as a "penny" or like a "fire in a stove". The other children call her a liar and lock her in a closet, just before the sun is due to come out. As the sun appears, the children all go outside to frolic in the sunshine, and they forget that Margot is locked in the closet. As the rain starts again, they remember Margot and run back inside to free Margot from her prison, and they are ashamed of what they had done.
The Wheat Field, Sunrise
Vincent Van Gogh, 1890
Living where I do, I sometimes feel like Margot. We have so much rain, clouds, mist, dampness, gloominess, I almost forget what the sun looks and feels like. Until today, when it is shining in all its golden glory. I, however, am locked inside an office, and my only access to the sunshine -- one little window off in the distance -- has been blocked by closed Venetian blinds. Venus, Venetian -- how appropriate? Today is the longest day of the year -- the summer solstice -- the point where the sun reaches the farthest distance from the equator. For a moment, the sun will appear to stop. And then it will begin to move south again.
For me, it will be all summer in a day... Let me out of this closet...!