Thursday 1 January 2009

Ennui at the New Year

New Year's day dawns with more than a touch of ennui, after all the gaiety of the holiday season, echoing the mood of a passage from psalm 103, set for today:

Our days are but as grass;
we flourish as a flower of the field;
For as soon as the the wind goes over it, it is gone,
and its place shall know it no more.

Yesterday I found in the garden a bud of the little purple Algerian winter flowering Iris (I. unguicularis I think, though my mother always knew it as I. stylosa - follow this link for a fine photo of it), which opened in the heat of the kitchen windowsill today. So beautifully formed, it will wither in a couple of days, wind or no wind.

This morning we heard the appalling news of the deaths of three local teenagers in a car crash last night, with two more in critical condition in hospital. It is horrifying - young lives, full of hope, snuffed out in a moment, leaving only grieving families and friends.

And then there is the disaster unfolding in Gaza while we have partied. What excuse can there be for the ruthless, disproportionate brutality of the Israeli government and military? What for the crazed attempts by Palestinians to strike back at Israeli civilians with improvised rockets and human bombs? The Jewish people who endured one historic injustice in the Holocaust have for 60 years been inflicting another historic injustice, the Naqbah, on Palestinians. An evil wind blows over the land that cradled the three Abrahamic faiths, and people wither like grass.

Susannah and I had intended to join the party at the Yacht Club last night. It's always a jolly affair, full of friends old and new, where everyone brings a dish to share with others. Susannah had made a great bowl of delicious spicy chicken and sausage with pasta as our contribution. But two days ago I developed the cold which is going about, and I decided not to cough and splutter over others, but to stay at home. Susannah took the dish down to the club, but decided to come back to me, bless her, so we dined by ourselves and saw in the New Year with a couple of bottles of wine and Jools Holland's Hootananny - a great mix of old and new, including Martha and the Vandellas, to take us back 40 years!

I made a Resolution this year, despite resolving years ago never to make another! My doctor advises that I should walk more, and I know he is right, so my resolution is to take a brisk half-hour walk at least 4 days a week. Despite my cold I decided to join the Yacht Club crowd on their annual New Years walk. Ballycommon to Hogan's Pass (where I left the party) and back through Belleen took a bit over the hour. So far so good - we'll see if I keep it up!

Back home to find the Hunt near by - the New Year's day hunt always starts in Dromineer - I do hope they haven't chased away our hare, who I forgive for his destructive habits last year!

The walk has raised my mood wonderfully, despite residual ennui I feel able to echo the psalmist's main theme:

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me bless his holy name.