Sunday, 21 December 2014

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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  1. Really enjoyed your article, Rab. I know exactly how it feels to be in torrential rain, having grown up on the coast of Swansea, S. Wales where I was battered by raging winds and rain at times. But, as a child I was obviously more fearless than I am now. From April to October I used to swim in all weathers and swimming in the rain is simply magical.
    But, oh, these dark days...
    Have a great Christmas.

  2. Thanks Linda, I'm just back from a rain soaked walk with my family along the nearby beach. we all got drenched to the bone, but had great fun. Hope you have a good Christmas too :-)