Opinion Kevin Myers

Friday 18 August 2017

Kevin Myers: Dying of summer always fills us with mortal dread

And that was the summer; another gone. No other time of year begins with such infusions of melancholy as the one now upon us. The leaves are beginning to turn to crispy brown paper in the autumn sun. Soon they will be gone, and the empire of the early dusk and the long night begins.

There are consolations to be got from the roaring fire and the buttered scones and those cold clear winter days when you can see a fence from 40 miles. But I know what each season means: another layer of one's life lived, another chapter concluded, another landmark passed. And I also know how quickly the past 10 or 20 years have passed. Those are the units we live by: and they are the merest gossamer standing between us and a return to the utter nothingness from which we emerged.

It was on days like these, 21 years ago, that I took my mother on the Shannon. The weather was kind, and each day the gallant old sun shone with a wan but gamey warmth. One evening I cooked lamb chops, and I gave her two. She was thrilled; a lady of modest habit, she had never before had two chops on her plate. And I felt guilty then that I had never before provided her with such an ordinary pleasure. During that trip, she seemed troubled; she had difficulty understanding simple things. I thought it was age. It wasn't: it was a brain tumour that was diagnosed over the coming weeks, and would kill her as winter deepened.

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