Dia is Mhuire díobh go léir a chairde, and welcome to my report.
And so ends our two weeks of self isolation, only to be followed by two more. Looking back it hasn’t been so bad. I heard an old man saying one time that “to look ahead, forty years is a very long long stint, but believe me when I tell you that it’s nothing when its spent”. I think we can say the same but at a much lower scale about the past two weeks. Looking back I can’t help wondering where did they go? What have I got to show for it. A lot of what we do in life, is determined by the way we handle it. It’s really down to our attitude. A long time ago I came across the following piece never read it more than once but put it into my scrapbook to be taken out and read again “When I’d Have Time”Now I have weeks of time and if I share with you, you have weeks of time to read it. I quote. “The longer I live the more I realise the impact of Attitude on Life. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes,than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company, a church, a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past, we cannot change the fact that other people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one thing we have and that’s our Attitude. The writer is convinced that life is ten percent what happens to us and ninety percent how we react to it .We are all in charge of our own Attitudes’. Unquote. Sound advice.
The weather is playing a big part on our isolation. Every Day is bright and sunny, maybe fairly cold, but then it’s very seasonal. Those of us who have gardens can make every day a feast day pottering. But not until we have tuned into the media where there is a long list of religious programs to choose from. Sadly I’m not in the catchment area to get the Masses from our own church live. But thanks to Sean Radley, I can enjoy the familiar voice to Canon John on Cork Music Station,most mornings. And again thanks to modern media we can get other local Churches also. Further to that there is the Global Catholic Station EWTN, Sky 588, where Catholic services can be accessed anytime. I had great supply one morning while surfing the screen, when I got Canon John on CMS and the Rosary live from Lourdes on EWTN at the same time. It was wonderful. Anyway to get back to the garden. I love getting my hands in the earth and digging out the weeds and preparing the beds for the new season. Many flowers such as primulas or violas which are in pots need to be watered, because of the dry harsh days. But in spite of the cold, the earth is warm to the touch, and you couldn’t resist the urge to plant a few seeds. It’s a great time also for giving a little touch of paint to weather beaten containers or kerbs. This year I bought two grow bags ,which are another step down in my life as a lover of the earth. Starting life on a farm with acres to till then a few ridges in my retirement garden. Moving on the a raised bed. Which served us well for another couple of years and now I’m down to the grow-bag, but i’m looking forward to it with as much enthusiasm as all the acres of old. I have three potatoes. Some carrots, lettuce seeds, onions also strawberries and raspberries. My clump of chives keeps me going the whole year round, They never fail to dress up a sandwich or a salad etc. There is something very profound about going out in your garden and picking your own. Anybody can do it. You’d be surprised what you could grow in a bucket of soil. Last year I grew peas in a bucket, about twelve seeds. They grew up, I staked them and they gave a great yield, so each time I passed I could help myself to a succulent treat right off the stem. Garden Centres are going through very trying times with the Spring season slipping away and social distancing keeping buyers away. But they are willing to take orders over the phone or on line, and they will deliver. We should give them our support. They help us year after year to beautify not just our own gardens but also many towns and villages. They deserve our support.
The birds are a joy to watch at the moment. Spring is in the air for them as well as for everybody else and they are putting all their energies into making sure that there will be lots of baby birds for the coming year and places for them to live. Animals out in the open are getting their winter coats picked off by our hardworking feathered friends as they gather a cozy soft lining for their nests. The animals never seem to mind donating their locks,they stay quiet still and take on the look that anyone of us would if we had somebody to scratch our back. We have all the time in the world to wait for the new chicks to come out and see their parents train them to survive on their own. At my time of life my world has come to a full stop, total isolation and it’s up to me and my equals to do what we will about it. Find ways to pass the time, perhaps catch up with things that we’ve put on the long finger for long enough. But I’m wondering how it is with others who have to go about their daily work. Farmers for instance, what is it like for them. In Springtime their lives burst into a blaze of activity, with cows calving, sheep lambing ,vets visits, medicines collected and to be administered etc, while continuously looking over their shoulder to see if they are observing the four foot social distance. Most of other businesses are closed, except our trusty postmen who are coming into their own once again as the friend of rural dwellers. The good news there now is that we can leave letters out for them,and they will post them off at no cost. An Post has kindly given us two postcards that can be used in this way. And it’s a lovely way for us to let a friend know that we are thinking of them. Our food stores are also playing a blinder, they bend themselves backwards to serve the public. We often frown at the children’s use or over-use of ipads etc. But now that the schools are closed and they have no way of meeting their friends, the ipads are coming into their own as our young people can see and talk to all their friends on screen. If there’s anything good to be said about our sad situation, it is that we are all on the same level. Nobody can buy their way out of it. So nobody can feel aggrieved by being beaten to the post by some more powerful person. And bit by bit we are hearing of people who are getting the dreaded virus and surviving. A friend of ours in his forties from near Cork City, fell victim and was very ill, but is now fully recovered and home with his family. Similar stories are coming along which is very encouraging. Buíochas le Dia. Like most disasters, the Corona Virus, has brought out so much goodwill, so many offers of help. So many lovely stories of good deeds being done. It would be impossible for me to name people, because it is so easy to forget someone. It is indeed a strange position we find ourselves in. People can’t visit loved ones, even for birthdays etc, and Mother’s Day was a non event this time The message being, if you love your mother, stay away from her don’t hug the children. It’s the same the world over. Talking to friends in any part of the world, the message is the same, wash your hands, keep your distance. We can only pray for God’s help for all those who are in positions of responsibility, that they will have the health and inspiration to lead their people out the other end of this global crisis, and when that day comes we’ll kiss and hug the daylights out of our loved ones and even people that we don’t know at all. Keep on smiling in your heart. We are to the end of March, the clocks was put forward one hour. Wednesday is April 1st and the Holy Season of Lent is moving on. Palm Sunday, April 5th. Holy Thursday April 9th, Good Friday April 10th, Holy Saturday April 11th, Easter Sunday April 12th .
It used to be a day of sorts when we were young, it being Fools Day. We had to be on our sharps all day to make sure that we didn’t fall into the trap when told our lace was ripped, or whatever, while at the same used every trick in the trade to make a fool of somebody else. It was a lot of fun but often ended in tears so it was always a relief when the day was down.
That’s about it from me. I wish you the best of luck, in whatever situation you find yourself in, just remember there is a Good God there to look after us all. Slán.