We awakened this morning to high winds and rain beating against the bedroom window. Peeking outside revealed little as it was pitch dark. Yes, welcome to Northern Ireland in November. A bleak, dreary landscape. It’s little wonder the Game of Thrones producers chose our little country to film many of the Winterfell & Iron Island scenes from the books. Our weather is erratic, unpredictable and most definitely challenging.
They call Ireland the Emerald Isle and first time visitors are often amazed at how green our fair isle is as they fly in over a patchwork quilt of verdant fields. Our grass is so green because it rains so much, as in most days. Our summers usually consist of a weekend in June, preferably during exam time just to annoy the kids. The cows love it and happily munch away, watching the rest of us mutter and grumble.
As a commuter, I am rapidly resembling Scott of the Antarctic as I step out into the wilderness to brave the bitter conditions. Heavy duffel coat and woolly hat, it won’t be long before the scarf and gloves are also dusted down for their seasonal debuts. My fellow travelers on the 07:35 express to Belfast will be even surlier than normal this morning. We are united in our misery and we quietly seethe on the journey to work.
When it comes to griping and groaning about the inclement conditions I’m up there with the best of them. If there’s a torrent to be caught in, I’m invariably slap bang in the middle of it. It’s as if every time I step out the front door the heavens open. It’s particularly delightful in the middle of a 10 mile run. Why does it always rain on me I cry to the clouds, clenching my fist. There is much wailing and gnashing of teeth.
It’s a similar scenario with life in general. I tend to be a ‘glass half empty’ kind of person and the last few months have done little to convince me otherwise. I was out running yesterday and whatever turn I took I was staggering into a gale. You get to the point where it becomes almost laughable if it wasn’t so heart wrenching. Really, God, is this what it all comes down to at the end of the day?
I can take the personal knock backs as can Fionnuala. We are well used to disappointment and frustration. Maybe we deserve it for past transgressions, I know I do. It’s when it affects the kids that I get peeved. Our children have done nothing to deserve the illness and injury which has befallen them in recent times. We stand by, helplessly watching life deal another low blow. I feel useless, neutered.
We keep soldiering on, we keep turning up, we dig deep and draw closer as a family. The five of us form a core, a defensive hub. Friends come and go, churches drop by the wayside promising so much yet delivering so little, yet we go on. For there’s nothing else for it. Our kids need us to be strong, to be there, come rain or shine. There is no other option, no other way.
And I write about it, not because I particularly want to do, rather I need the cathartic release. It’s therapy and it’s free. I don’t do it for attention or numbers as was suggested yesterday. I don’t crave the limelight, my default position is to shun it. I write for myself today. Warts and all. Why does it always rain on me? Because it just does, that’s why. So best get on at dealing with it