One of the highlights of my year is the arrival of the first snowdrops in my garden and today was the day.
Tramore was shrouded in muggy fog but deep down under the unpruned hydrangea by the front gate, I caught sight of the gleaming white of snowdrops. This moment symbolises so much to me: light after dark; hope after doubt; courage after falterings; reunion after separation; joy after teardrops …..
Even if the hopes you started out with are dashed, hope has to be maintained. (Seamus Heaney)
The Good Friday Agreement of 1998 was a fundamental part of the Peace Process in Northern Ireland.
I simply cannot let a Good Friday go by without giving thanks to every single person who was involved in bringing that Agreement about.
There was a time when it seemed like the Island of Ireland would never see the level of peace that prevails today. It is something that we should never, ever take for granted and it is also something which should be viewed as a beacon of hope by those who are subsumed by pessimism about ongoing violence.
I just tossed everything aside today and went out to greet Spring or should I say that she came to greet me?
First stop was what I’ve christened the ‘Primrose Road’ where the view of the fields was greener than green:
and there they were:
Out by Fenor Bog, one word on a magnificent woodcarving in the graveyard of Fenor Church caught my eye:
Hope is something we all need in life and I guess that each and every one of us has a duty to spread as much hope, in even the tiniest ways, to try and ease the way for those who are caught in a quagmire of hopelessness. That quagmire can seize any of us in the blink of an eye.
Nature was certainly playing her part in singing hope for me today. Is any sight more uplifting than clusters of snowdrops …
Christmas Eve always makes me think of the Christmas Truce in World War 1 in 1914. Every year, it seems more and more striking that soldiers from the opposing sides on the Western Front took the courageous step of laying down their arms for three days and came together to sing, talk, eat, drink and play.
The Christmas Truce makes me think about the futility of war and, indeed, the yearning that lies within us for peace.
My hope for the every single human being today is that they somehow find peace in their lives and that peace can ring out right across the world.
This is the place of peace that comes to me this evening. It’s high up in the Comeragh Mountains here in Co. Waterford and my father and I used to climb up there for years around Christmas time.
It’s been very stormy in Ireland over the last few days. It has seemed at times as if the end of the world is nigh with torrential rain, howling gales and dark, dark skies.
As I battled against the wind out at the beach during a lull in the rain, I was really struck by the beauty that can lie even in storms if we lift our heads and take a look around.
Pondering this, I had to conclude that there have been beautiful moments in the storms of life that have come my way over the years.
I’m writing this mainly as reminder to myself that storms are not all bad.
But I also want to reach out to anyone who is going through a storm in their lives right now. Please remember that the sun will shine again and that it may even be glinting at you, if only very fleetingly, to give you a glimpse of hope and better days ahead.
This scene in the John F. Kennedy Arboretum in Co. Wexford this afternoon unlocked my door into November and the remainder of this year. It was a calm and peaceful unlocking.
Who knows what lies ahead? Who wants to know?
But, I guess we all have hopes. Mine relate to health, happiness and peace at both a personal and a WORLDWIDE level.
I’d like to feel that the wooden seat will be a place where people will stop awhile and draw breath. I’d also like it to be a seat where the lonely find companionship; enemies see paths to peaceful resolutions; lovers grow in trust; friends support each other; strangers exchange smiles; artists find inspiration; and each moment spent there is truly treasured.
May November bring you health, hope and happiness and a sense of connection to the magic of nature.
The changing of the clocks to Winter-time fills me with absolute dread every year as all I can see lying ahead is dull, dank, dark, dismality. This year was no exception and I basically bid a fond farewell to all colour last Saturday afternoon with the clocks set to fall back at 2am on Sunday morning.
The week that has unfolded has shocked me with the colour that has danced on the beaches in and around me here in Tramore.
It all started at sunrise on Sunday morning when I went down to the beach in a state of total confusion about what time it really was:
Each day has brought moments of pure sensual bliss,
and absolute hope:
I hope your week has given you good reason to look forward and to see every colour, including black, as having a beauty all of its own.