Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Forest hug

We're getting into the dark months now; as I've mentioned here before, we're less than a thousand miles from the Arctic Circle, and while the surrounding sea and Caribbean current keep Ireland above freezing, the winter months hover a few degrees above, wet and cold and very dark. Even the daylight hours bring only dim light, as though hesitating through several hours of twilight before plunging back into a night that consumes three quarters of the day.

This time of year Ireland's lush landscape grows denuded and stark, skeletal branches rattling in the fierce winds and everything turned grey, "like some cold glaucoma settling over the world," in the words of Cormac McCarthy's The Road. The winter is made far worse by our bizarre summer -- one of the wettest on record, when almost none of the familiar fruits or berries could be pollinated. Older people here, who grew up making jam and wine every fall, are at a loss this year.

In a few months, we'll be out of the darkness. This week, though, I will be using up my summer forest pictures.

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