Séamus Ahearne: Weeping Willows, Rachel Blackmore, Rome and Indi speaks…
The Garden of Eden:
David Hockney said that most people wouldn’t notice the ‘Garden of Eden’ if they were walking through it. The world is very beautiful but you’ve got to look hard and closely to notice the beauty. (ST 21st March 21). For the past few mornings, I have been watching out for Tony. He had burst into speech last week at the Tolka. Here is the gist of his outburst: “It is a beautiful morning. The sun appearing. The water flowing. The swans. Ducks. Water hens. Wrens. Chaffinches. Bullfinches. Dippers. Kingfishers. It is good to be alive.” He didn’t mention the egret or the heron. Or the swooping cormorant I had seen earlier; it was majestic as it flew up the river as ‘monarch of all it surveyed.’ Tony then asked about Pat. This was the man who waked his dogs three or four times a day and used to carry his wife’s dog in his arms. He would sit down then under the weeping willow (which is now beautifully dressed and flourishing) as if the tears of the tree would be in harmony with his own. (His wife had died a few years earlier). Pat would then move on to a Church and sit for a while, joined by the dogs! Pat is well into his eighties now and is in a home. Tony then spoke of Máire. (Our photographer). He was thrilled and said that he must be the only man in Finglas who goes around with a nun’s phone number at the ready, to share nature’s photos. Tony lost me however when he began to describe all the differing expressions on the faces of the dogs. That was beyond me.
The poetry of sport:
Rachel Blackmore became the Prima Donna of Cheltenham. She wasn’t just the first lady; she was the leading jockey. The Irish had 23 winners. Paul Hennessy from Kilkenny trains greyhounds but still had a winner with ‘Heaven Help Us.’ He likes religious links in the names of his few horses. Jack Kennedy did Kerry proud with the Gold Cup. The Irish Rugby team surprised and delighted everyone. CJ was sent off with tears of joy. England were down and very much out. Fernandinho was described as the Mozart of the premiership. He quietly but harmoniously provides the music for Man City. Might Roy Keane now add to the pride of Celtic if he joined them as Manager. (Paddy would love that!) And finally, Peter Lorimer from Broughty Ferry near Dundee, and of Leeds, has died. He was a formidable goal scorer from distance and a member of the Revie squad.
The art of the possible:
I dropped down in Anchorage a few times in years gone by. I didn’t get any further than the airport. We were on our way to Korea and Japan. That city cropped up in the news last week. The Chinese and the Americans met. They had a spat (for public consumption I expect). It was a cause for mirth. The Chinese told the Americans that they weren’t in any way fit to give lessons on democracy to any country, in their version of contaminated politics shown off to the whole world in the recent Presidential election. How true indeed.
Recent postings on the document issued in Rome, were loud, sharp, angry, disappointed and very upset. The idea of an own goal came to mind. It was embarrassing and sad. The language of the past all came together. The volcano of stupidity exploded. Disordered. Intrinsically evil. It too often appears that many get in the way of the ministry of Christ. Work in the business of faith is challenging but sometimes we are let down by proclamations from on high. Some of us know from experience out in the reality of messy lives that the only way ministry makes sense is to be understanding and accepting of how people are, and where they are. Any rejection of a person’s effort to live a life of love is an affront to the Christ of the Gospels… I smile myself at clerical power (seanachaí) “They have the power.” Francie took the pledge. He wanted one day in the week off. He drank on Sunday. He came looking for an extension then for Monday. I told him that he had to trade for such parole. He couldn’t then drink until Easter Sunday! He returned the following day and told me that I had tricked him. But he also wanted another day to use the left over cans. There was no give on my part. He even sent in Mary his wife. I wouldn’t budge. Some days later, he told me that I was right. What power these priests have? … Liz likes her Facebook. Some man from a faraway place took a liking to her and wanted to know her better. She dismissed him. “I’m not used to you. I’m a nun.” Whatever did she mean? I suggest that all nuns start a campaign against her.
Self esteem and emoting:
Matthew Parris (Times) took exception to some of the emotional outcry after the death of Sarah Everard. He said that “a nation’s attention span, can be both short and very fierce.” And then he wrote “that most (indignant headlines) will pass, often with unseemly speed.”He didn’t want to diminish the rage but wanted some sense of perspective. Not every man is dangerous. We love to emote. The media has a grasshopper mind, and jumps from issue to the latest rancour. I sometimes take Palm Sunday as an illustration of the fickleness of humanity (Not quite true but allowable). ……James Marriott (Times) saw ‘Self-esteem’ as odd, misguided and even dangerous. It breeds laziness and failure. His point goes against conventional wisdom. He wanted to haul people away from being obsessed with themselves. He was calling on everyone to see what they can do for others rather than be preoccupied with their own feelings. Interesting. Many of us can even recall school (where there wasn’t much about self-esteem) which wasn’t such an exciting place and teachers weren’t always creative, imaginative, curious or provocative. We weren’t ever told to worry about how we felt! We often only began to learn later almost as a reaction to what we didn’t learn in school/college/university. Teachers are very precious. Very scarce. The poets and artists of education. Why do so many teachers end up in Dáil Éireann? Again. Are they the most suitable people? If they were real educators; they would hardly look for an escape into politics! Too many teachers are very limited to the curriculum; to orderly lives; to almost robotic learning. The profession needs educators. And such folk are like gold.
Indi had her birthday.
She is a big girl now. She has been singing and dancing. She has discovered her voice. She likes to shout. She is audacious and outrageous. She took to the stage on the phone. She was charismatic and an evangelist. Here is her speech:
“The old folk are blessed in having me. I make them feel young again. I teach them to be alive and alert and to adapt to a new way of living. They have to look around and have to see everything in a new way. I want to know everything. I want to see everything. I want to learn everything. They must help me to see. If they don’t see the wonder of the world; then I will miss out on so much. If they are excited by the seasons; by the waking up of nature; by new life in Spring; by the beauty of each day; by the very nature of love in every person – then I will be at a real school every day before I get to official school.
I want to know too who God is and what God is like and how I will see God and what God thinks of me. I want to know what was God’s plan, in sending me along to these people. I want to know all the people who were part of my history and my story and I want to hear those stories. I know that Nigel and Freda (her parents) wanted me so much and love me in a big way. But I need help to find out how precious I am to God and to them. I need to know how best, to be the gift that God intends me to be. Only with their help can I find out.”
She had heard me talk of David Hockney and the Garden of Eden. She wasn’t sure who he was and what he did. I told her about his painting and how he loved being in the garden and looking at everything and seeing the beauty around him. Well she said – “I am like David Hockney then.”
Seamus Ahearne osa