Christmas is finished, New Year is done, festivities and little treats (in my case, Lindt truffles, gin and cranberry mince pies from Lidl, classic panettone) are no more. The scales are overloaded, the holidays are booked and seem forever away. So heads down, folks, and let’s skedaddle through to February 1st, St Brigid’s day, which many in Ireland consider the first day of Spring. From then on in, life will kick into action. No more introspection. The pace will pick up, the annual rhythms begin. There will be cricket, football, and tournaments of tennis. Elections and riots will be held, borders will be crossed, sanctions will be imposed and political heads will roll. Wars will start, floods will flow, fires will burn, storms will squall. Financial Indexes will go up and down. People will die, babies will be born and meantime we will all have places to go, people to see and things to do.
Alongside the flotsam and jetson of world events, hopefully, the year will see me continue to walk Poppins daily, write the odd poem, read books, listen to drama and documentaries on both the BBC, RTE, watch TV series, swim, cook dinner, learn French with Duo Lingo, Face Time family and friends and wonder if every older generation feels that the world has gone mad. I do remember my grandparents complaining of a loss of morality. I dismissed them as stone age old farts. Am I now a middle class stone age old fart? Should I try to constrain that inclination I’m developing towards impatience and intolerance? Probably. At the moment I don’t have grandchildren to convince (and therefore myself ) that we can change the world. I hope they don’t come to late for me to change. A new year’s resolution, Kate. Stem disillusion now!
Talking of evolution, I have just come back from a two night stay in Ballina at the Ice House. The fourth wall of our hotel room was a glass window overlooking the River Moy and Belleek woods. The wide, tumbling, salmon tossed, river winter life was full of fowl, birds, fish, otters, and weather. There was so much movement in tune with hours of the day. The wind, sea tides, night and day made the river rise, fall, burble, crash, there were different rhythms at different hours. At dusk, there was a starling murmuration, ducks squawking, and the family of three swans dipped their heads and settled them under their wings. At dawn, the river woke slowly, with a pale demeanour. Singly, birds abounded in the air, fish began to pop bubbles in the water, and the river rippled over the rapids.
While there are lakes and lots of wildlife in Cavan, and I can watch the starling murmurate over the lake outside my window, I don’t feel the life rhythm here as much as I did watching the river in Ballina. This may be because, even as an older woman with less responsibility, I still live by dull daily routines and don’t afford myself the time or have the inclination to stop and watch. So, I am making a late new year’s resolution: I will note and take pleasure in natural routines…and unnatural ones. For instance, there is a blackbird in the garden who sings throughout the dead of night, every night. S/he starts at about 1.30am and will intermittently sing sweetly (or not as the case may be) until the robins, thrushes, and tits join in the trill around six. This is charming. There is also a car that drives past the house every morning at 5.10am. I will notice and remark. I will take pleasure…
Finally, talking of pleasure…I did like Ballina. It was a twisty, interesting town that liked itself. It had a lot of traditional, interesting shops and not so many trendy cafes, beauty salons and nail bars. Whoops, stop it, Kate. So, I am looking forward to 2022. I plan to wallow in it, like those swans on the River Foy, happily. Happy New Year.