Séamus Ahearne: Tolka Park, War, Cricket and Indi’s looming birthday…

 Our Lenten pilgrimage from Covid to War

Tolka Park and whitewash: (1)

This Saturday morning is brighter. The horizon seems to be shrugging off the night somewhat sluggishly but is getting there. The rising light is sprinkled with colour. I could now see the swans on the island (centre of the pond). They were still asleep.   Many birds were up and loud in their harmonies. I mused on the gaps in my education and felt my learning was very limited. It was narrow. The gap now looms larger as I age. My educators weren’t very imaginative. And I haven’t been too good an educator of myself, since student days; I couldn’t distinguish the bird sounds. I know little about music, art, history, nature.

Tolka Park and whitewash: (2)

The frost has whitewashed the park. The five cranes were watching me (lots of building going on). I met no-one on the walk. It was too early and possibly too cold and Saturday morning is a time for the long lie-in for many. I must have become a natural celibate with age. Extra bed-time has no attraction for me! But I was thinking of simple things. Like the morning air. Like walking in the park. Like the birds. Like the River Tolka. Like the waking sky. Like freedom. Like gratitude for so much.

That isn’t cricket! (1)

Shane Warne and Rod Marsh took over the Obituary page of The Times (London).  They were vying for space with the Ukraine on the News. Warne and Marsh were great cricketers. They were big characters too. They were outlandish. All rules were flexible. They were unfamiliar with the politically correct version. Dredging was part of the fun in the game. It was a battle of wits. Life was similar. Warne especially stretched the elastics of what was normally acceptable. But his genius shone through. In sport and in life, we secretly admire the outrageous. The predictable and the conformist is easier to cope with, but it is the maverick and the unusual that makes life exciting.


That isn’t cricket! (2)

Why do so many hang on the next throw-away line from Roy Keane? We do need colour and excitement and poetry in life. Religion too could take its inspiration from Shane, Rod and Roy! Liturgy has to find inspiration in similar fashion. Faith has to stretch the sinews; has to push us beyond the ordinary in words and expression; has to force us to do the unlikely and unexpected. The staid, stolid, rigid, predictable version of religion is ungodly! There is too much prose and too little poetry in faith as practised by many of us.

The War:  (1)

Volodymyr Zelenskyy was an actor and a comedian. He is now president of the Ukraine. ‘A comedian was elected president and became a leader. We elected a comedian and he remained a comedian.’ (John Grace comparing Zelenskyy and Boris Johnson). The war in Ukraine has shocked everyone. It is impossible to believe that it is happening. The President unites the nation against the bully Putin. Ordinary people fill sand-bags and make Molotov cocktails. The stories circulate. The Russian teenagers (soldiers) are given phones to ring the ma. The children with cancer can’t be transferred. The biggest nuclear plant in Europe (city of Zaporizhzhia) is shelled.


The War:  (2)

The French authorities have seized a super yacht owned by Igor Sechin (‘Amore Vero’). True love indeed. He denies ownership. The Italian police have taken over a yacht owned by Alexei Mordashov, the richest man in Russia. Roman Abramovich is selling Chelsea and his yacht ‘Eclipse’ has absconded. The oligarchs are in the news. How does a State, which is communist, spawn these oligarchs? The State Duma (Russia) passes a law that makes it an offense to say anything that might demoralise the people or the military (15 years in jail). They are clearly against ‘fake news.’ From a State that poisoned dissidents; that drugged its athletes; that fed the child Kamila Valieva (skater) with Trimetazidine (it seems). And yet Putin speaks of Nazism in the Ukraine. He tells the people that Russia is not invading but rather going in to help his own citizens (part of the greater nation of Russia). Some children (in Russia) are arrested for protesting against the war. However, we know the long remembered phrase – the first casualty of war is the truth. What do we know? ‘The world is in a terrible state of chassis.’ (Juno and O Casey).


Young Indi:

She is excited. She wasn’t the least interested in the up-coming Census. She doesn’t  care where they put the question on Religious Affiliation. It isn’t important to her whether it was the starter question or at the end of the line. I think she is right. But nonetheless, it is amusing that it is drafted in that way. Indi is full of God. She sees God everywhere. Her God speaks to her every day. She is honest enough and brazen enough to believe in herself as a gift from God! She tells me that her name means – ‘an angel of God.’

She is distracted these days. It is her birthday on the 21st March. She is an ancient. She will be 2. She is proud of all she knows and what she has learned in those two years. But she now wants to hear what are ‘they’ going to do for her birthday. She tells me that she will be a big girl then. Oh my dear. It is truly a wonderful world despite everything. The eyes of a child. The imagination of a child. The excitement of a child. A child does teach us.


Seamus Ahearne osa

5th March 2022.


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