This was the view from the other side of our garden wall at 8 o’clock this morning. Now that we are officially in to Spring, it seems that Winter is reluctant to bid farewell just yet…
Last week we had a special occasion in the life of the parish – the Bicentenary of the Church of the Ascension in Timoleague. It was great to welcome the Bishop, the Clerks Choral choir and lots of friends and visitors. The Bishop in his sermon reminded us that the problems faced by people two hundred years ago are not all that different to those of today – and of course the mission of the Church remains the same as it always has been, to live out and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ near and far…
Well it’s got to that time of year again; no sooner have all the Calves arrived than the farmers have to turn their attention to Silage cutting. The above picture is the field behind our house, but it could be anywhere in West Cork or rural Ireland at the moment. Late into the night tractors, trailers and giant forage harvesters are hurtling along country lanes and boreens (as I discovered coming back from Dunmanway yesterday evening)!
Today the above field is bare except for hundreds of crows – I’m not sure what they are all so excited about so if anyone would be able to tell me that would be great.
Of course we are all affected by the seasons and routines of the year and all the ‘interesting’ weather we have here, but none more so than the farmers. It must be very stressful for them at times and it is interesting to see how among all the farmers I know how well they cope with that stress. Those that have a strong faith and trust in God find a help and support that I would think is absolutely essential for dealing with such demanding work. May God bless and be with them all at this time.
Walking with my family along the sea front at Aberaeron as 2010 drew to a close, something about this little telescope caught my attention. Perhaps it was the sheer lack of view on offer; it was hard to see even where the sea and sky met, the horizon lost in a featureless haze. And such is the future, we have shadows and glimpses of what might be and what may become, but it is all just out of reach – and probably for the best. What will happen this year, what good will come to pass, what tragedies will unfold?
There will certainly be an election in this country (though the present Taoiseach will do his utmost to delay it as long as possible), even more people will lose their jobs, even more will emigrate and it is hard to see any positives at all on the political / economic end of things.
As I look at the mess this country has increasingly become, my prayer for this year is that people will let God into their lives, their homes, families and workplaces, that the countless failings of the churches will not continue to drive people away from faith and that people would not make up their mind to reject God because of the failings of God’s followers but would instead look to Jesus, the Way the Truth and the Life. How wonderful it would be this time next year to be able to think of many people who have let God into their lives and been utterly transformed as a result – at the moment I can think of a few, but I am greedy for more!
And so I wish you a belated Happy New Year with a quote from “Trotty” in Dickens’ short story The Chimes:
So may the New Year be a happy one to you, happy to many more whose happiness depends on you! So may each year be happier than the last, and not the meanest of our brethren or sisterhood debarred their rightful share, in what our Great Creator formed them to enjoy.
There’s a time in the evening when the sun is thinking about setting but seems reluctant to do so. Low in the sky the light is soft and filtered, imparting a certain ‘glow’ to everything.
As I stood in that field of Barley, I felt like I was in the midst of a great painting, a work of genius, by the great Artist. It was a moment of beauty; I could hear the sea rush against the shore to my left and I could smell the earthy ground, still wet from the recent rainfall. A breeze was gently blowing across the fields so that the Barley seemed - almost – to mimic the movement of the nearby waves. There was a mist beginning to rise in the distant hollows and I knew that the special light was about to leave, so I reluctantly did the same.
I came across these yesterday near Watergrasshill. Apparently they are the old Toll Gates for entry into Cork city from the North. (This road continues on eventually linking up with the “Dublin Road” into the city.)
I don’t suppose they had any problems with “Eazy Pass” back then ;-)