Wednesday 21 November 2018

Baby, it's cold outside - and that's just fine

Don't complain about the weather but instead celebrate all the crisp joys winter has to offer

Ultimate view: A cold Dublin as seen from space
Ultimate view: A cold Dublin as seen from space
Liam Collins

By Liam Collins

Ah, but it's very, very cold," they say. But nothing, I reply.

These are glorious days, the low sun slanting down on us, brightening up the dark days of early December, the blue almost Mediterranean sky by day and the starry night skies twinkling and clear.

The clean, crisp, cold air of these past few days has freshened up our lives, killing off the troublesome germs that often turn this season of Advent into a snivelling mess.

Even from space, an astronaut was struck by the clear, pristine picture of Dublin he could see from his perch in the heavens.

Did you notice that, just like a week of good weather in summer, the polar 'snap' - as we like to call it - puts people in better humour?

Instead of leaning into the rain, enveloped in umbrellas and waterproofs, not noticing our neighbours, we are able to walk on the bright side of the road, stopping to converse, however briefly, before moving on to get the blood supply circulating again.

The bare trees reveal buildings, which emerge from the foliage in all their glory before retreating behind their curtains of green in the spring.

In the garden the robin and the clicking little wren flit around the bare branches of small trees and at night a lean fox steals along the sparkling street.

Last Friday afternoon I left the sunshine to look at Frank O'Meara's wonderful painting Towards Evening and Winter, thinking it might have captured something of the moments we were experiencing outside.

But no, it was later in the day when the sky was grey instead of the blue that hung over much of Ireland for a few days during the week.

Patrick Kavanagh, who died a half century ago, and reflected the weather in his poetry, caught aspects of the Irish winter so well:

The light between the ricks of hay and stray

Was a hole in heaven's gable. An apple tree

With its December glinting fruit we saw

O you, Eve, were the world that tempted me

Of course that little spell of Irish weather came to an end, like many things, we never appreciate it until it's gone, that's just our nature.

But we do love our weather and we have every reason now to embrace the cold chilly days of winter and the rain that will, inevitably, follow.

With December, we can at last embrace the festive season that sounds so bogus in the weeks before when ruthless retailers are trying to bleed us dry before the celebrations even start.

Forget the shops for a few hours today and take a bracing walk by the seashore and Joyce's 'snot green sea' or climb a frosted hill and afterwards find a nice pub with a roaring fire and reflect, even for a short time, on just how damn good it is to be alive as another festive season gets under way.

Sunday Independent

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