After what feels like months of rain the sky has finally cleared. My Echo Show is no longer reporting an interminable flood watch. We are finally seeing the sun.
Outside the window, there are the occasional dog walkers and a Prime truck or two, but even the leaf blowers have stilled their cacophonous mating call. As my dog and I step out blinking in the light, it strikes me that the day feels most like a Sunday.
It remains unclear how long the sheltering order will last, but the vagaries of the weather notwithstanding, we are possibly looking at a proverbial “month of Sundays” such as this one.
The idiom “a Month of Sundays” is as problematic as they come, because we cannot fully understand the mindset of the ones who first uttered it. The first known usage of the phrase was in a 1759 book entitled “The life and real adventures of Hamilton Murray. Written by himself. In three volumes.” (The punctuation is from the original edition and I love it! Mr. Murray seems so proud of his three volumes.) The fact that this book was obscure even at the time it was written implies that Mr. Murray did not coin the phrase. No Cervantes was he. The expression may have been ‘ala mode’ or already ancient. We will never know.
I have seen the term used to denote ‘an impossibly long time,’ inferring a literal passel of thirty Sundays (or thirty weeks of duration). In other usages it denotes tedium; one dreary day following another, since Sunday in the 1750s was a day folks were forbidden from anything fun.
In more recent parlance, the phrase has taken on a happier connotation, possibly because of the invention in 1881 of the Ice Cream Sundae (and hence the inevitable advertising tie-in of a Month of Sundaes). Sundays now are a day of family and of rest. They are pancake breakfasts and communal dinners. They are the absence of traffic or the need to shave. What could be bad about having a month of them?
I wish for all of us that our spell of Sundays (whatever the eventual length) remains a period of peace and calm. There will be time to catch up with the rat race later. For now, let us step into the sun and enjoy the quietude.