Sunday 20 January 2019

Time for the resurrection and the light

At sea, myself and other hardy souls convince each other it's summer
At sea, myself and other hardy souls convince each other it's summer
Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

I recognise it could be a false dawn, and that you could be reading this snowed in somewhere, as the grandchild of the beast lashes us with more snow, but I definitely noted the arrival of spring last weekend.

Indeed I had a kind of a spring in my step. You could call it March mania. I wasn't quite out indulging in reckless, impulsive behaviour but I definitely came alive.

I started making daft, grandiose plans, looking at houses I'll never buy and planning how I would do them up, thinking about new, mad work projects I will never finish, even in the unlikely event that I start them.

Suddenly it seemed like a world of possibilities and I was attuned to these possibilities.

Everything seemed to become a bit lighter too. It was as if for the previous five months I had been pushing myself down, like trying to push a ball under the water. And suddenly now, with a bit of light, I took my hands off the ball and it flew back up. And everything changed. Everything suddenly looks different.

I went to the sea and it was as cold as it has been recently, which is very, very cold, but somehow I was able to go back to mind-over-matter, to focus on the swimming instead of the cold.

Recently, you couldn't get the cold out of your head. It was all I was aware of when I was in, checking my watch and counting down the time I had agreed with myself to stay in. But on a day with light, that same sea with the same cold was just a background to a glorious swim. The fact that the ground was actually warmed by the sun when you got out helped too.

And even that made me realise that I can create my own reality by selecting where I put my attention, by choosing to aim up and forward at good things rather than down and in.

At the sea, the other hardy deluded souls and myself convinced each other it was like a summer's day. Maybe it was helped along too by the fact that we knew the end was in sight now. The water may not be warmer, but we know that the next step is that it will get warmer. We are past the lowest point. We made it through another winter.

And now we are coming into my half of the year. I am out of hibernation and fully alive again.

I stand up a bit straighter and cast off a few layers, and crack out some sunglasses. And I remember that even walking to work can be a pleasure on a bright morning, that Dublin is beautiful really, especially when the texture of everything has changed to become more hospitable.

This is my resurrection. This is my Easter Rising. Before I know it I'll be on shorts on the bike heading to the sea. And the more clothes I shed, like a snake wriggling out of his old skin, the happier I'll be. The last half of the year was all about death, but now the life and the renewal comes. Now we are reborn.

It's not like I'm going to climb a mountain or run a marathon or anything drastic. But I'll be able to sit outside and have a beer without freezing my ass off.

I might not just lock myself gratefully into the house when I get home from work.

The early mornings will be bright again too, so us people who get up early in the morning might start making more use of those glorious hours when most of the world still sleeps.

Life will become simpler, lighter, airier, less of a struggle. It'll be easier to smile.

So let's live a bit while we can.

'Brendan O'Connor's Cutting Edge' continues on RTE 1 on Wednesdays at 9.35pm after the news and weather

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