At 3 p.m. Tuesday, it was 20 degrees on McNabbs Island in the Halifax Harbour; that was good enough for Canadian Hot Spot honours.
Yesterday, daytime highs across Atlantic Canada were slightly above normal and the heat from the mid-October sun was reminiscent of late summer.
According to our ancestors, this little stretch of warmer than normal weather in October has a name or two. Many refer to it as St. Luke’s Summer but Grandma called it “little summer.” This late-season treat usually occurs around Oct. 18 and is named St. Luke’s Summer in honour of the saint’s feast day.
Saint Luke was a Christian physician, so naturally, over time, he became known as the patron saint of physicians and surgeons. For this reason, many honour Saint Luke on his feast day by praying through his intercession for doctors and those who care for the sick.
I came across a lovely poem about St. Luke’s Summer that I’d like to share with you. It was written by Norman Nicholson in 1948.
St. Luke’s Summer
The low sun leans across the slanting field,
And every blade of grass is striped with shine
And casts its shadow on the blade behind,
And dandelion clocks are held
Like small balloons of light above the ground.
Beside the trellis of the bowling green
The poppy shakes its pepper-box of seed;
Groundsel feathers flutter down;
Roses exhausted by the thrust of summer
Lose grip and fall; the wire is twined with weed.
The soul, too, has its brown October days --
The fancy run to seed and dry as stone,
Rags and wisps of words blown through the mind;
And yet, while dead leaves clog the eyes,
Never-predicted poetry is sown.
– Norman Nicholson, Rock Face (1948).
So while we watch the wind whip the leaves around and the rain dance on the rooftops, I can tell you that there is a lovely stretch of sunny weather coming in behind this fall storm… St Luke’s Summer.