Monday, 28 October 2013

The storm has passed, the skies and sea
are blue and the autumn fields are green

Blue skies, blue sea and black and deep brown sand on the beach at Greystones this afternoon (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2013)

Patrick Comerford

The storm that is still battering many parts of these islands has had tragic consequences in England, where at least six people have died in the storms, and commuter traffic, business and daily life has suffered many disruptions throughout the day.

I am still hoping that air and rail traffic is back to normal for the rest of the week, and that I am able to go ahead with my planned visits to theological colleges in Oxford and Nottingham, and with my plans to spend All Saints’ Day at the end of the week [1 November 2013] in Lichfield Cathedral.

However, apart yesterday’s heavy rains, Dublin seems to have been spared the worst excesses of the passing storm, and by early afternoon, as I attended the funeral of a work colleague’s brother, there was bright sunshine and blue skies, even if there was a chill wind.

Today is the autumn bank holiday Monday in Dublin, and for decades the main event of the day has been the Dublin City Marathon. When governments were still resisting declaring a public holiday on May Day, this bank holiday was created to make up the days-off counted by other European workers. Although May has since been conceded, many people since remember this senseless Bank Holiday as “Micky O’Leary’s Bank Holiday” – or as Halloween Monday, even if Halloween falls much later in the week, as is the case this year.

Surprisingly though – and despite the mid-term break in many schools and colleges – few people seem to have taken advantage of the extra day off, and when we arrived at Greystones, Co Wicklow, later in the afternoon, the beach was almost deserted. There were just a few couples walking their dogs, but only one yacht out at sea, and no children on the beach.

We had a late lunch in the Happy Pear, before walking down to the bridge under the railway line for a short walk on the beach. Last night’s has rain left the sand black or deep brown and rightly compacted. The small waves were loud as they rolled in onto the shore, but the sea was blue and there were few clouds in the blue sky above.

On the road back through north Co Wicklow and South Dublin, the fields that had been golden during the harvest a few weeks ago were now beginning to turn green in the late autumn glow.

A print from Egypt … in a new place on a wall after the weekend (Patrick Comerford, 2013)

Earlier in the weekend, I had spent a few hours at home hanging a few pictures that had lain hidden after the house was redecorated a few months ago: an icon from Romania, another from Mount Athos, a photograph from Achill Island, prints and paintings from Greece, Cyprus, Egypt and Syria, a favourite photograph of a church window in Lichfield …

Autumn brings its own pleasures by the sea and in the countryside ... and brings its own blessings too.

An icon from Romania … back on a wall at home (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2013)

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