Wednesday, 9 January 2013

The joys of clear mornings in winter sunshine

Clear winter skies in Knocklyon this morning (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2013)

Patrick Comerford

Winter is cold here this month. Temperatures have dropped below zero some nights, and in the morning, at first, the temperature is hovering around 2, and is threatening to fall.

But the mornings are bright, and the cold weather means the skies are often clear and bright soon after 8.

I don’t know why, but during the night there is still some continuing birdsong, and in the morning the dawn chorus is particularly beautiful.

Perhaps the cold weather means the ground frost makes it difficult for the birds find food; perhaps because there is no snow this year means they find it easy to find food; I honestly don’t know, but my heart is cheered each morning and it’s been a joy going to work each morning.

There is a large group of students in this week for a programme in Continuing Ministerial Education (CME), with a heavy programme in Church History. Then, the part-time students return on Friday for a residential weekend, and the full-time students are back on Monday for a new semester.

Each morning, it is a joy heading in to work.

But with a nagging pain in my upper left back and chest for almost a week and an unusual cough, I eventually went to my GP on Monday evening. It was a long three hours between waiting and consultation, and the news was tough to take. I have pleurisy in my left lung that has either been aggravated by or has aggravated a fresh flare-up in my sarcoidosis symptoms.

The weather I have been enjoying has not helped my physical health.

Now I’m back on a fresh dose of steroids, another new batch of medication, and told to rely on my inhaler more frequently.

But none of this is going to dull my spirits. As I have said so often in the past, I may have sarcoidosis, but sarcoidosis, but sarcoidosis is never going to have me.

I’m looking forward to some of the intellectual stimulus of the new semester.

I had a taste of Greece when I got back home from my GP late on Monday night – I opened a bottle retsina bought in Crete last summer.

And, from today, I can also say I am looking forward to another visitto Greece later this summer.

The lighthouse and harbour in Rethymnon ... ’'m looking forward to a return visit to Crete this summer (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2012)

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