Sunday, 21 December 2014

Rainy Winter Solstice - Part Two

 Due to the cyclical nature of rains, winds, clouds and oceanic currents, some
picture by marina
of the rain drops that fall today may contain the very same water that fell one hundred, one thousand or one million years ago. The rain beating against your window could very well be the same rain that drenched poor old saint Patrick when he was touring the west fighting giants, ‘converting’ young lady pagans, pissing off druids and causing all manner of mayhem and miracles.

The rain can be a catalyst for great fun and enjoyment. Walking in the rain is just that little bit more vigorous and adventurous – I tell my children we’re re-enacting the adventures of Tom Crean and Ernest Shackleton. And of course nothing beats coming in from a cold rainy walk, and sitting down to hot home-made barley and veg soup. Even being stuck in the house can be fun: Imagination and games are a great for keeping cabin fever away. 

Board games are brilliant for releasing tension, laughing and engaging with friendsand family.  No matter how much fun computer games are, they still cannot replicate the interaction between people, the sigh of someone about to make a clever move, the crack of the dice, the widening or narrowing of the eyes of your opponent, or all the chatter, emotional outburst, and words of encouragement or trickery that swirl around a board game. 

Play is a great way of staying connected with those around you. This is particularly important as the lack of light at this time of year can play havoc with biological clock, Serotonin and Melatonin levels, all of which can effect our sleeping patterns and mood. In worse cases this can lead to Seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Young people between the ages of 18 and 30 are most vulnerable to SAD, but there is much you can do to limit winter depression: get out into the fresh air as much as you can, go for walks, avoid alcohol as it is a depressant, and when in doors sit near windows. Also eat plenty of fresh fruit and veg, talk to your friends and family and don’t be shy about contacting your doctor. For more information SAD check out HSE online  

Finally, the rain does stop occasionally, giving way to rainbows and incredible sky-scapes full of Nimbostratus and Cumulonimbus stretching and warping into all manner of fantastical shapes around patches of blue sky as small as puddles or as vast as oceans.   

So if the weather is getting you down, remember winter, like all the seasons, brings it owns pleasures. So stay warm, play games, go for walks, check out the clouds and remember to keep an eye on any friends who may also be finding things a bit tough going. Oh and finally, Happy Winter Solstice – I hope you have a good one. See you all next year for more riskybizzness fun.

Rainy Winter Solstice - Part One

There are days when the rain is so heavy, here in the furthest western edge of Europe, that it feels like my house is an ancient three masted ship snagged on a
picture by Marina Wild
toothy rock in the middle of the Atlantic. Waves and sprays of unending rain drum and drip and rattle and shake the windows and timber frame of my marooned habitation. It is an endless and relentless precipitation that, if I dare step outside for more than five minutes,  seeps through any fabric I wear and sinks down to marrow of my bones and the recesses of my soul. It is a weather system designed for misery.

Yet, the world needs rain and wind and darkness as much as it needs sunlight and blue skies. And a change in perspective can make even listening to the rain an adventure, for when we listen to the rain we are listening to history. The sound we hear in a rain storm is the very same as that heard in the west of Ireland for millennia. It is the noise that wolves and oak trees heard long before the first human settlers came to Ireland. When bards sang beautiful propaganda for the myriad kings and queens of iron-age Ireland, the rain beat its own accompaniment on the rafters and walls of the royal palisades.  

The rain was there in time of feast and famine, the companion of birth and death in the west of Ireland, and the travelling companion of those forced into exile. When Galway’s most famous grandson Dr. Che Guevara Lynch faced execution in Bolivia, the sky wept as he called out, ‘Shoot coward, you are only going to kill a man!'
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