Sunday, 16 December 2018

Thank you Winter. Don’t listen to the others. I love you.

Waking to the sound of rain hammering my bedroom windows, I turn on the lamp.


Above me the wind plays a violin concerto on the roof. After years in this house I know by the pitch of the music the energy of the storm.


There are countless downsides to being a writer, but having to get out of bed while it’s still dark isn’t one of them.

Propping up a pillow behind my head I reach for the latest Donal Ryan. I love his writing, particularly his short stories, but From A Low And Quiet Sea hasn’t grabbed me yet. In fact - most unlike me altogether - I devoured Willie Vlautin’s Don’t Skip Out On Me during a break from Donal.

What luxury! 

For years I commuted into London, physically hurling my body at packed tube trains, just as the doors started to close, so that my impact would allow me to squeeze into the space between glass and wedged workers.

No more.


Now I lie here and read until it’s light, excited and comforted by the knowledge that weatherwise, today’s a write off.

Good writing weather: that’s what I call it.

No need, reason or desire to leave the house. Just get up, do my stretches, make a fire, have breakfast and go to my office. There I can sit and write as long as I want to, because outside it’s lashing.

Not the full sideways effort, but gushing diagonal floods of heavy rain, carried on strong South-Easterly gusts, now smashing against my office window as I sit here, writing this.

Apart from housework, there is nothing else I can do today.



God knows what other poor souls who live rural lives do on days like this. Sometimes being a scribbler feels like a blessing, because I’m condemned to neither loneliness nor Loose Women.

On weekdays my TV won’t go on until my day’s work has been written, printed out, hand corrected at the kitchen table, repeat and rinse, repeat again.

Then I light the fire, cook dinner and watch the Irish, English and US news, to see what’s been going down, out there in the real world, where humans talk to each other face to face.

Without the writing Winter would send me even more doolally than I already am. I’m sure the reason Ireland has produced so many writers because instead of going on merry social jaunts, we’re forced by the rain to stay inside; to apply our madness to writing.

Others warn me of the dangers of isolation, but I experience way more craziness out there than here in my solitude. 


Exchanging pleasantries with shop workers or howyas on the street inevitably entails listening to them giving out something rotten about the wind and rain.

They can take the cold, and love the sunshine. Oh they’ll take anything, except that rain, the wind and the rain .They just can’t bear it.

I nod and smile, eager but socially unable to moan back at them:

“Well why the bloody hell do you live here then, in this country famed for wind and rain? Move to Morocco. But no, ‘cos once it gets above 20 degrees you’re giving out like babies that it’s fearful hot. And as for humid, well believe me, what you call humid in Ireland truly isn’t.”

Would you want to sit there and tell me you hate a quarter of your life?

Well then, don’t give out about the only Irish season that does what it says on the calendar.

In Winter we can enjoy each day’s sunrise and sunset. With the sun so low on the horizon, the heavens offer severe contrasts and jaw-dropping colours.

Shafts of fire and crimson shoot from both dawn and dying sun, up into black clouds bugling with rain. The light and dark bleed together, mutating into a menacing purple glow. threatening intense latent power.
As the sun creeps along its low Winter horizon it lights up the empty branches of trees: stark upturned lungs against endless grey skies.

The best of Winter comes not with what is, but what is not.

During the darkest months, while we uncivilised beasts rush around in festive frenzy, arrogantly believing ourselves immune to mammalian hibernation, the natural world becomes calm.

Stand still for only a few minutes each day and you’ll discover how in Winter our environment exists in a variety of silences, offering the bliss of several levels of peace.

At Winter dusk there are no power tools; not even birdsong here. Not a sound, not a movement, not a car in the distance nor a ram at a ewe.A majestic calm hangs over the land. Away from Trump, Brexit and Christmas shopping, here right now, at our feet, the world is placid.

With shorter days I sleep more and try to expect less of myself. A very fine and fancy shmancy idea, but the outside world always steps in and dictates the rules.

Still, despite the trials and challenges life presents, which as you all know it does, relentlessly, I make sure to give thanks for Winter.

When the trees are still, silent and naked, I enjoy nothing more than standing by the back door, watching the birds eat the seeds I’ve strewn.

Oh wow!

A young fox appears, not 20 feet from me.

Robust with health in his lush rusty coat, he licks up a few mouthfuls of birdseed and jumps over the stone wall.

The weather forecast unfolds over my house.
I take time to appreciate the glorious tranquillity.

Thank you Winter.

Don’t listen to the others.

I love you.

©Charlie Adley


H said...

Reading this one I realize that while you as the writer can utilize the harsh weather to write, I as the reader also happily am obliged to stay indoors due to drop-weather... though I prefer our snow to your rain!

Charlie Adley said...

Not sure what drop-weather is exactly, H, but if we got a hundreth of your snow here the country would come to a standstill. 2 inches and the airports close! Mind you - take a look at the pics - it doesn't rain all the time!