Sunday, 14 February 2021

Living close up

This short piece appeared in the February 2021 issue of Newslink, the Diocesan Magazine for Limerick & Killaloe

The pandemic lockdowns have focussed us all on what is close to us, what is local. We value the little things more for what they are - God-given blessings. As I cocoon myself from the virus, I give thanks for the kindness of friends, neighbours, and staff in local shops, who keep me supplied with the necessities of life. I notice the courtesy of strangers who mask up, and make space for me in supermarkets and on the street, so that both of us may keep a safe distance apart. 

Since I cannot travel to visit wild places with long views, what is close up has become much more important to my spirit. The ever-changing garden I share with Marty my wife is a constant joy - we are blessed by the abundance of life in it. Lockdown must be so much more difficult for those in cramped apartments. 

Just now, as the days lengthen at the end of January, fresh life burgeons in the garden, and there is something new to see every day. Those most at risk are already being vaccinated, and the rest of us will be in due course, if not quite so quickly as we would like. All this gives me hope for the future, hope that once again we will enjoy God’s bounty, hope that we will emerge from the Covid tunnel into the light of a world changed for the better. 

I hope you enjoy these photos of a few of the things giving me joy in the garden just now.

Bright yellow spider-like flowers of Witch Hazel with a sweet scent

Pristine white Christmas roses, blooming through frost and snow since before Christmas

Snowdrops, just starting to open after pushing their way to light through the leaf litter

The Lime alley, with beech and yew hedges neatly trimmed by my good neighbour John

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