28 December 2011

‘The wonder that I feel is easy, Yet ease is cause of wonder ...’

A crescent moon and an almost clear sky above the beach in Donabate this evening (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2011)

Patrick Comerford

There is a world of difference between the weather in Dublin this week and the weather in Dublin in the week after Christmas last year. The temperatures have been higher by 15 degrees or more each day, and although there has been some rain there has been no snow and no biting cold.

There was a coastal warning today, however, and I thought we might be hit with the tail of the storms that have been battering Norway. Even though the East Coast is normally so sheltered, I thought we might get some of the storm late this afternoon as I headed out to the beaches of Portrane and Donabate in Fingal.

Dusk was settling on Portrane, the tide was out and the wind was biting, but there was no sign of a storm, although the wind was brushing across the surface of the water. Only two innocent souls had braved it out onto the Burrow Beach this afternoon. But instead of joining them, we headed back to Donabate again, parked the car at the Martello Tower, and walked down onto Balcarrick Beach, stretching below the tower and the Waterside House Hotel.

At the end of the pathway down to the beach, in the dusky lights of the evening, the rocks and sand combined in swirling shapes that made this look almost like a moonscape. But above, the clear blue sky was decorated with only a light cloud or two, and I thought of TS Eliot’s opening lines about midwinter in ‘Little Gidding’:

Midwinter spring is its own season
Sempiternal though sodden towards sundown,
Suspended in time, between pole and tropic.

A crescent moon was suspended high above, but its reflections were caught here and there, like a dancing silver spirit, in the wet ripples in the sand.

The tide was out, and the waves were rolling in, but slowly and gently, and between the blue sky and the gentle, breaking water, I felt, once again like Eliot in Little Gidding, that I was caught

... in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.

The Martello Tower reflected in a pool on the beach in Donabate this evening (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2011)

Turning back towards the hotel, the Martello Tower was reflected brightly in a pool below. Darkness had descended on Donabate, but back in the Signal Restaurant in th hotel, as six of us gathered for dinner, as family and friends, the crescent moon shone through one window onto our table. Through the other windows it was still possible to peer through the darkness out onto the sea.

‘The wonder that I feel is easy,
Yet ease is cause of wonder ...’

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