In Japan they have 72 seasons we learn – each of 5-6 days – which is quite a thing to find out. Japan has four main seasons, each divided into six subsections, and each of those has three parts. That’s fascinating, and forms the framework into which Lev Parikian plugs his light-hearted but accurate observations of wildlife in his local urban surroundings during a time of lockdown.
I liked his season for 1-4 January of ‘Christmas Trees are Released into the Wild’ very much, although after 12th Night would perhaps be a better location for it.
I did wonder whether the author would make a stab at the right number of seasons for the UK, based on wildlife, but he didn’t, so we can all play that game. And we can use the whole of the UK for our basis of selection rather than the author’s neighbourhood. I think harvests of various sorts would dominate my ‘autumn’, with blackberry, mushroom and sloe picking, the opening of various shooting seasons and harvesting of main crops. End of Cuckoo song would occur in July and butterflies could provide a few nailed down seasons. First snowdrops, primroses and bluebells are all culturally significant moments in the year. But that’s another interesting book to come, perhaps.
The cover by paper-cut artist Clover Robin is entirely serviceable. I appreciated it more after reading the book than it grabbed me at first – 6/10.
Light Rains Sometimes Fall: a British year through Japan’s 72 seasons by Lev Parikian is published by Elliot and Thompson.
Also reviewed here are Lev Parikian’s two earlier books, Why do birds suddenly disappear? reviewed September 2018 and Into the Tangled Bank: in which our author ventures outdoors to consider the British in nature reviewed June 2020.