The word that keeps floating into my head today is ‘contrasts.’ In part, it is driven by the US Election results and the differences between Biden and Trump, even though they are similar in terms of being older, white males.

It is also to the fore because November is a month of curious contrasts and ones which I seem to notice more and be more appreciative of because of what can sometimes seem like the greyness of the month.

Sweet November Songbird

This morning, it is dull and dank here with cloud almost touching our heads but as I was coming in our gate a glint of bright orange caught my eye from the Berberis bush and the Mahonia out the back has turned her gleaming yellow lights on as if putting on a bedside light in the depths of night.

The contrast that has perhaps struck me most relates to mindsets. Joe Biden’s litany of personal tragedies would be enough to defeat a huge number of people. His courage in the face of such hard knocks is nothing short of inspirational. I have no idea how he will fare as President but I think he has shown that there are alternatives to giving up in the face of adversity.

We do not live an equal life, but one of contrasts and patchwork; now a little joy, then a sorrow, now a sin, then a generous or brave action.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Beneath it All

Ever since my tennis days when I’d be waiting with my opponent to go out and do battle, I’ve been acutely aware of the way those on opposing sides often have the most in common.

So it is today for Donald Trump and Joe Biden. They are the only two people who know how it feels to be facing Presidential Election Day 2020 as candidates.

What are their thoughts, real thoughts, as they face the day and days to come?

Surely, they will have moments alone with their gut feelings. Will they even be able to or want to connect with those or is it better to keep running along the rim of the world on adrenaline.

You’d like to think they would say a private ‘Good luck and may the best man win, ‘ to each other but I doubt that will happen.

It’s all too easy to forget that we are dealing with essentially fragile human beings here. Nobody is superhuman and nobody is perfect. Everyone is vulnerable and fragile in their own ways.

A big day and let’s hope it is one that is underpinned with dignity, respect and connection.

Trump v Biden – Debate 1

It was 2am our time in Ireland and I woke with a jolt as if there was an alarm clock going off.

The Trump v Biden debate was just starting and all these miles away I listened to the whole thing on BBC radio. So it was a bit of a triangle Ireland, UK and US.

It certainly kept me awake but then I am a political animal. Not seeing them, just hearing their points and interjections was an interesting way to do it but maybe the body language would have told me a lot more.

There was no commentary like you’d get with a boxing match on radio so I had no idea if blows were hitting home or one or other was clinging on to the ropes for a breather.

What struck me most was Biden’s slow delivery compared to Trump’s faster speech.

Also, in the dead of night miles away, I couldn’t but wonder about the fact that these are two men who in other spheres would be written off as old and vulnerable and candidates for cocooning.

Sleep resumed as soon as the debate ended.