Alexander Averin

Monday, 23 November 2009


Dear Diary,

Our river has gone down a little and when I wake it isn’t actually raining. This state of affairs doesn’t last long though and then when I switch on the radio I hear sad news - a woman is missing after she fell into the River Usk at Brecon and then there is coverage of the ongoing suffering in the flood-stricken county of Cumbria. I am reminded, as if I needed to be, of the supreme power of Nature and I can foresee that these cataclysmic floods will soon become too commonplace for comfort. When will governments realise/own up that climate change is the real terrorist hiding in our shadows? We should not be at war in far off countries (for dubious reasons) killing innocents and sacrificing our young soldiers but rather fighting to save Planet Earth of which we are all citizens. I feel we are not taking it seriously enough and just paying minimum lip service to the environmental cause. If we go on like this it will become too late - I really pity the world we are leaving to our grandchildren and great grandchildren and I carry some guilt along with that pity.

I have started reading Banville’s The Infinities. It could not be less like Love and Summer and I am not sure I am in the mood for it. It reads like another Booker winner for him though - Banville won it in 2005 with The Sea. I loved The Sea but the subject matter of his latest book is depressing me, even the parts which I can see are meant to be darkly humorous. I am always being reminded that sometimes a book will only work when the mood of the reader fits. I am in low mood today, can’t you just tell?

So here is a poem by the dear departed John O’Donohue.

Just for me.

It is not even nightfall and yet various things have unnerved me today and sometimes only these words will do.

Beannacht (Blessing)

On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.
And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.
When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.
May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

John O'Donohue

Bye for now,


blackbird said...

Dear Cait,

Hear! Hear!

What a worry for you to watch the water come down from the sky and up from the river. Water is such a frightening and mighty force.

I live in an area of steep hills, rivers and rain. We are experiencing more floods each year and I think that the reason is very poor building management. They allow people to build in the flood plain but the worst offence is the building on the hillsides. Whole tracts of trees and undergrowth are removed and replaced by houses and pavement. The rain doesn't get a chance to soak gently into the soil and instead gathers force as it heads to the lowlands. It shouldn't be allowed.

Beannacht is a wonderful poem and I can see why you go to it for comfort.

Chris Stovell said...

Yes, the elements have been frightening lately. We are high on the hill and the winds that batter the house are fierce and the last thing you want to hear lying in your bed at night. I think it does make you feel vulnerable and very aware of the sadness in the world - I would love to feel some sunshine again.
Take care.

Sweetpea said...

Thank you for such a heartfelt post and for sharing that beautiful poem. We have been following the news from over here (USA) about the floods in Britain & Ireland and it is very frightening what is going on...I can't even imagine experiencing such a thing, such forces of nature. But I am in agreement with your message about climate change - and I think it is - will be- effecting us all.

Woozle1967 said...

I so agree, Cait. But after the storm, the sun ALWAYS shines and it will do soon again. We are nearly on that shortest day and, before we know it, the snowdrops will be there to remind us of new life bursting forth. Take care.xx

Anonymous said...

I agree wholeheartedly with Blackbird - building on flood planes, towns protecting themselves so those living further downstream suffer, mis-management of uplands; patios and driveways, I could go on.

But that doesn't help those suffering in the floods. The current low pressure system is huge - covering the whole of the north Atlantic, from Greenland and Canada right across to Scandinavia.

mountainear said...

I'm with Woozle on this one. However hard it is to see past the darkness and power of the elements, brightness is surely just around the corner.

Marcheline said...


I, too, was having a less-than-optimal day (as my blog post will raucously attest), and your post here is the second thing that has lifted my spirits today.

The first thing was my husband coming home from work with an armful of hamburgers, french fries, and chocolate milkshakes! The only thing better than going on a diet and losing weight is cheating on the diet every once in a while!

Yay for both of you spirit-lifters!

- M

Scriptor Senex said...

Good one, Cait.

laurie said...

banville can be quite depressing. i recommend tony earley's new book, if you can get it over there. it was published in hardcover last year, in paperback here. 'the blue star.' a lovely book.

and yes, your floods are terrible. there are still plenty of people in the US who don't "believe" in global warming. i can't understand it.

Unknown said...

Cait, that was a beautiful blessing. I hope you don't mind but I have copied it out to hang in my office.
The sun has brokent hrough the clouads here, and it lifts my heart to see it - I hope the sun will shine with you today.