One swallow does not a summer make!

Welcome to Wednesday....hope you are all managing to keep yourselves safe and healthy. Thank goodness for this beautiful weather, at least when we go out for our daily exercise it is glorious to be outside. I have been making the most of it and going out for daily bike rides and it's a wonderful way to carry out informal meditation just by being in the present moment and savouring all the wildlife that is literally blooming all around us. I have been keeping my eye out for these little visitors from Africa to show that summer is gradually on its way but so far I haven't seen any. I have heard reports that they are back in the country, but not sure if they have reached us yet.

With this in mind, I've often wondered where the saying...One swallow does not a summer make came from. So here we are....

This proverb appears in Aristotle'sNicomachean Ethics- the name given to Aristotle's best known work on ethics which is believed to be based on notes from his lectures at the Lyceum in Athens. Aristotle died in 322 BC.

"Now we take the human function to be a certain kind of life, and take this life to be the soul's activity and actions that express reason, and the function of a good man to be the good and noble performance of these. Each function is completed well when its completion expresses the proper virtue. Therefore, the human good turns out to be the soul's activity that expresses virtue. And if there are more virtues than one, the good will express the best and most complete virtue. Moreover, it will be in a complete life. For one swallow does not make a spring, nor does one day; nor, similarly, does one day or a short time make us blessed and happy." (translated by Terence Irwin, Hackett Publishing Co. 1985)

Many fables have been written based on the proverb including one attributed to Aesop. However, considering that Aesop lived around 600 BC (or at least the legend that became Aesop appears to have originated around this time as there's some uncertainty whether Aesop actually existed), it would seem that the proverb dates back at least a few hundred years before Aristotle. In Aesop's fable, a young man sees a swallow on a warm winter day. Thinking that winter is over, he sells off his woollen coat, and with the money he's made he goes to the bar and drinks. Unfortunately, in the days that follow the temperature drops and the young man, shivering in the cold, realizes that one swallow does not make a summer. (thanks to for this information).

Both men advise caution in an uncertain world of their time, and so this seems very apt for these uncertain times we find ourselves in at the moment. I am going with....take one day at a time and enjoy the moments of contentment, happiness and joy however small they may be, that appear throughout each day. Let us take the time to appreciate them and savour them.


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