May 2021 bring peace, hope, love, health and creativity and laughter to you all.
I know this is a BIG wish but I hope that, between us all, we can push foward with a sense of connection and support and know that there is fellow feeling to add to and draw from as the year unfolds.
Life is essentially fragile and so are we but it also has a glorious beauty embedded in it and we must seek that out and store it up, like animals who hibernate, for times when we need its nourishment.
I like to think of you all as friends who care and share and who know how to read between, in front and behind the lines.
Your presence has meant so much to me over the past decade and today is a day I want to thank you sincerely for that. You make me think, laugh, cry, explore, admire, travel and feel inspired. How lucky is that?
Thanks again and let us dance together into the seas of 2021 with hope in our hearts.
It’s Christmas Eve and it doesn’t feel quite like it.
I’ve been practicing breathing exercises I heard a psychologist recommend on the radio the other day as a way of dealing with the uncertainty that the scary rise in Covid cases is giving rise to in the last few days. Breathing slowly and deliberately does help to tone down the anxiety in what seems like a very fragile situation. It looks like we are set for a very heavy lockdown, yet again, as the virus sweeps the country. The ‘break’ to allow Christmas to have some sort of normality associated with it has been pulled back a lot and seems like it is destined to be pulled back further.
My heart goes out to people who are lonely, fearful and miserable tonight and to all the people who are working in hospitals and care homes trying their very best to care for people who are being ravaged by the virus. I know many families who are all split up and also people who have been separated from their elderly relatives for months on end. There are no easy answers, that’s for sure.
Meanwhile, Ireland has heaved a sigh of relief today as the United Kingdom and European Union finally, finally agreed a Withdrawal Deal which will offset some of the worst effects of Brexit on our little country here on the edge of Europe. It’s still unclear exactly how it will all pan out but, at least, it looks like we will be spared mega tariffs and huge problems in relation to trading with our nearest neighbour.
And all the while, I have been haunted today by memories of the great balladeer, Liam Clancy, who I was fortunate enough to see in concert a couple of times. He was some character and the song that has been playing under the surface today is The Dutchman as I remember hearing him sing it with immense feeling here in Waterford during one of his final concerts.
It brings me to the love and connection that can exist when dementia enters a relationship. So many of our most vulnerable older people who have been caught up in the Covid situation have dementia and I really feel tonight and every night for couples who find themselves separated after long years spent together.
Christmas Eve is a night when one cannot but think of one’s parents and tonight I remember so many precious Christmases shared with my late mother and father who I was fortunate enough to have until they were 89 and 91 respectively ( and living just around the corner from me.) They are happily in my heart tonight and I think of them not with sadness but with great love and appreciation.
I am utterly bamboozled by how some people manage to keep going and going and going …..
I’m not a huge Boris Johnson fan but he comes to mind this morning as a person who must be way beyond exhausted trying to deal with everything from rising Covid rates to last minute Brexit decisions and all this just months after he was badly laid up with Covid himself.
Obviously Boris is a very public example but there are carers out there who are trying to cope 24/7 – 365 days a year – with inordinate physical and emotional demands and somehow they battle on.
And then there are activists in the field of homelessness, for example, and indeed people who are homeless who simply never get a break. And what of those in uncontrolled pain who are worn out from it and existing with it day and night?
How do they do it?
I know love, determination and adrenaline can bring one a certain distance but exhaustion has to set in and the body simply can’t keep going on little or no respite.
Yes, I am extremely grateful that I have a bed and that I can get into it and get sleep that replenishes and refreshes.
So many people are not so fortunate, that’s for sure.
It’s been a roller-coaster of a few days at a number of levels and I felt it best not to write here as I felt I could say things that I might later regret. Perhaps some bloggers operate at a far more distanced, professional level than I do and press ahead with posting no matter what’s going on. I could certainly do that if this was a different type of blog but one of the features of a ‘Personal Blog,’ as I see it anyway, is that they mirror what’s going on in the writer’s mind/heart ~ or else demand that one dons a mask and that’s not really something I’m very interested in doing.
Anyway, last night I had the most delicious swim at high tide in Garrarus and it seemed to wash away the angst. It was one of the highest tides of the year and I was there just as night was closing in.
As I lay floating over the big, friendly waves, the words ‘Give Thanks’ came to me. They always make me smile because way back in the early 1980s, I yearned for a pine bed but being an impoverished student such a luxury seemed way beyond my grasp.
However, I put all my faith and trust in a friend who knew all about horses and he swore that a horse called Give Thanks would win me the price of the bed over time if I invested the £5 I managed to scrape together from coins that I found in old purses, backs of drawers and down in the depths of ragged pockets.
Give Thanks was trained by Jim Bolger, who has gone on to be one of the leading trainers in the world of racing. Give Thanks and her jockey Declan Gillespie kept on winning for me and she even won the Irish Oaks, which is for three-year-old thoroughbred fillies, in 1983.
My pine bed materialised and was beyond precious in my little bedsit apartment in Dublin.
Last night, in lovely Garrarus, I gave thanks for all the good and the great things that have happened over the years and there have and continue to be many.
By the way, the ‘friend’ who spotted Give Thanks all those years ago became ‘hubby’ almost ten years later!
I’d love to know how other personal bloggers deal with writing/not writing when on an emotional roller-coaster? Do you pour it all out; write about something ‘objective’; refrain from posting or …..?
This morning I was out for a walk along the lovely Anne Valley Trail with puppy Stan on a lead for the first time. I had this feeling that I was seeing the world through new eyes and, to be honest, it was quite a relief as I was in one of those unsettled moods that can descend when the seas (of various descriptions) are rough.
It seemed like we had the place to ourselves; the birdsong was chirpy and the gorse was a gleaming yellow against the blue sky.
It was quite a surprise to round a bend and see five men strolling along. They were probably in their late sixties and there was an obvious camaraderie between them. They were full of the joys of Spring and before I knew it we were locked in conversation about the new angling club that’s being set up at the Anne Valley and how Trail had coped so well with the recent floods.
Just as we were parting, one of the men put his hand in his coat pocket and pulled out two toffee sweets wrapped in see-through crinkly paper. He thrust them into my hand and said to be sure not to share them with Stan who looked even tinier than he actually is!
The toffees were warm from being in the man’s hand and as I took off chewing them, I felt all the unsettledness settle and a deep sense of gratitude at the generosity of spirit of these quick-witted men.
Now this was a connection I wasn’t expecting and I never, ever thought I’d take a sweet from a strange man after all those warnings in my youth!