Be aware of darkness and give thanks for the rest!

Charlie Adley
Charlie Adley

Double Vision with Charlie Adley

What now? What now for us, as we emerge from the blur and rush, to face once again the normality we so eagerly tried to escape over the last weeks?

How bleak is this midwinter?

Well, that’s pretty much up to you.

After last year it’d be so very easy to drift listlessly into the doldrums. Under Connacht’s low grey January skies it’s tempting to feel oppressed by humanity’s apparent lack of direction.

In the past I’ve often trodden that path. Having lived with depression throughout my life, I now make sure to consciously and truly appreciate the times when I am not being taunted by my Black Dog.

Life ain’t worth a pooper if you fail to learn. Today there are many things that could be better about my life, as well as the world in which I live, but right now I’m alone in the house, just me and the keyboard, and I give thanks for many things.

Thanks for this lovely house. Yes, it’d be wonderful if we could afford our own home, but on the outskirts of Jakarta in 1985, I saw two children emerging from the three corrugated metal strips they called home.

A lean-to, tied together with scraps of rope, it was wedged in between the railway tracks and surrounded by hundreds of others.

The two little girls wore perfectly clean white shirts, and black skirts with pleats starched and ironed to a standard that would pass inspection at the Big House.

Immaculately-dressed children were popping out of tiny filthy wobbly sheds all over that shanty town. Living with neither plumbing nor electricity, those kids could all have starred in a Persil ad, yet the muddy puddled rusty ground beneath their feet festered with cholera.

So yes I give thanks. I could feel more secure, but oh my goodness we are so safe.

For 350 days of the year in the West of Ireland we will have sunshine and showers, in a temperature ranging between 10 and 20 degrees. The earth here does not quake. Fires the size of counties do not ravage this land. Of course it’d be lovely if it was sunnier, but then you’d be wiping clean every grain of sugar you spilled by the kettle, because millions of ants would share that climate and your kitchen.

Of course I could do with another 500 quid a week, but if that meant I lost time to walk and stare then I’ll pass, thanks all the same.

In the past I’ve been crushed commuting on tube trains, stuck in miles of stationary traffic, twice a day, five days a week. While it’s great to have the dosh, there is value and then there is money.

To read Charlie’s column in full, please see this week’s Galway City Tribune.