Home Sweet Home

I have enjoyed my first week in The Bungalow. I now live five minutes from Cavan Main St and I love the thought that down the road in one direction, people are drinking, eating, partying and, should I choose, I can roll down that hill and join in. On the other hand, after a five minute walk in the other direction, I can meander the forests, the wide open skies, the rolling hills, and lake sides, all burgeoning with ancient history and animal life. I am often struck by how much our earth teems with such different life forms and energies all at the same time – mice, moles, lions (the latter not in Cavan), people, war, love, happiness, hurt, hope, violence, death, terror and yet we all carry  on regardless.

This week, the Cavan evenings have been an artist’s dream. The bungalow nestles on the shore of the sky. Each evening, kippers of pink have rippled through the dusk, floating among the chimney pots and the starlings have choreographed perfect, mesmerising kaleidoscopic dances around the roofs and tree tops.

At night the glinting sheen of the orange street lights floods into my sitting room, casting my treasures into shadow. Coals glow in the stove beneath my Father’s square glass and brass clock on the mantelpiece. He was presented with it in 1981 at a Peace Congress in Berlin for services to Human Rights. The clock shows the time zones across the world. As I am writing, it is 3am in Bombay, now Mumbai. I love the tiny plane that is the second hand, circling the mountains, skyscrapers, and oceans of our world. It is one of my favourite possessions.

During the move, I discovered much about possessions. We have too many. When Indian tribes moved with the seasons, they simply moved with the tools they needed to reassemble. My move involved 150 boxes (we are a family of four I point out in defense but really that is no excuse) as well as beds, presses, tables, couches, carpets, dressers, chairs. It was interesting to note that what gave me most pleasure to handle and see as I unpacked: my teapot from Marrakesh, my Christmas cactus, and my House at Pooh Corner books, recipe books, a lava lamp,  my radio, a photograph, a rose tinted mirror, my dad’s clock, and my bed. I could have lived without most of the contents of the other boxes! However, having said that, I do rather like my new L shaped couch and the two suede leather recliners (another age milestone) that we have acquired since moving, not to mention the new Oisin Stoves in the sitting room and parlour. I also am fond of my potato masher and there are cooking pots that I especially like. And, of course, clothes. I particularly like my scarf from Peru, and my hat…and so it goes on. Possessions! Scientists need to identify that hormone, that gene that requires us to acquire and eradicate it!

So, this Christmas I am lucky. I am surrounded by my beloved possessions, people, houses, trees, lakes, sky, starlings, orange street lamps shining on the Cavan Street where I live. Home Sweet Home. It is such an important place. Apollo House in Dublin currently houses forty homeless people in Dublin as a result of direct action. I hope 2017 and more direct action finds more people safe in homes across the world. A home and shelter is a basic human right. Given the refugee and numbers of displaced people flooding across the land in 2016, and the forces of Brexit and Trump, it seems a little timorous and vague to simply hope for such things. I take off my hat to the homelessness activists who are actually doing something for people forced to sleep in doorways and on benches. We need more such well organised, unafraid activity to take on the rapacious and possessive cruelty of our ‘civilised’ society. Sadly, I am upon the age of the recliner, but young people of the world, do your stuff!

Happy Christmas.

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