An evocative exploration of the changing nature of a British summer published at the height of the season
Summer is traditionally a time of plenty, of warmth, of breeding; a time to celebrate the abundance of nature teeming in our hedgerows, cities, marshlands and woodlands. But in the twenty-first century, 'summer' is becoming harder to define. The changing climate is bleeding our traditional distinctions into one another. Last February held days as warm as August. Or was it the other way around?
Against the anxious backdrop of the global pandemic, Stephen Rutt seeks comfort and reassurance from nature in full bloom. But within his evocative exploration of the landscapes and wildlife that characterise the British summer, he also notes the disturbance to the traditional rhythms of the natural world: the wrong birds singing at the wrong time, the disruption to habitats and breeding, the myriad ways climate change is causing a derangement of the seasons.
The Eternal Season is both a celebration of summer and an observation of the delicate series of disorientations that we may not notice when some birds still sing, while nature still has some voice, but which might be forever changing our perception of summer.
Stephen Rutt is an award-winning writer, birder, and book reviewer whose work has appeared in EarthLines Magazine, Zoomorphic, The Harrier, Surfbirds, BirdGuides and the East Anglian Times. He is author of The Seafarers: A Journey Among Birds, which won the Saltire First Book of the Year in 2019, and Wintering: A Season with Geese. Stephen currently lives in Dumfries.
"An urgent and beautiful walk through the changing character of the British summer."
– Rebecca Schiller, author of Earthed
"Elegant, vivid, thoroughly absorbing, The Eternal Season strikes the perfect balance between celebrating the natural world and sounding a realistic warning about the damage we continue to wreak on it. All in all, a treat."
– Lev Parikian, author of Into the Tangled Bank
"Immediate and transporting [...] a species-by-species picnic of an unfolding Summer [...] The role of a Nature writer is to tread a tightrope [...] They must show us the marvel and wonder, but they must also tell us of the losses and risks in a world of climate chaos and habitat erosion [...] Rutt treads this fine line just right – the tone is hopeful, nostalgic and poignant."
– Kate Blincoe, Resurgence & Ecologist
"[...] All in all, this is a very readable and relatable title, and Rutt's analysis and resultant concerns about our natural world will be shared by many. His passion for our wildlife is plain to see, and his melodic and lilting writing style is most enjoyable."
– Josh Jones, BirdGuides