There was a Sadness in the Air

There is something, I believe, in our human nature which seeks to protect us from the sadnesses of life, a part of our make-up which realises that we can’t deal continuously with the vicissitudes and misfortunes that come our way. At times we put that aside and consider and ponder the sad realities we witness.

Over the garden this afternoon.

We live close to the river, on the outskirts of the town, an area which is unfortunately the location of unhappy events. When people go missing locally, the search is very often based close to us. It has become a regular experience for us; usually brought to our attention by the sound of the rescue helicopter overhead and usually evokes the response, “Oh, god help us; there’s somebody in the river.” Our involvement, nor thoughts, seldom goes any further nor deeper than that – it is just something which happens near us but doesn’t involve us. We may comment if the helicopter is around for a long time, or if there are an unusually high number of Garda cars or Marine Rescue vehicles but it is all at a very shallow level of involvement.

There was a Garda car and van on the road this morning as we drove to go for a walk at the seaside. Two more Garda cars came against us before we reached the start of our road and we wondered if there was a connection with an item on the local news of a man missing from an area across town. There were three Marine Rescue vehicles at the start of our road on our return and the Rescue Helicopter arrived in the afternoon.

The usual routine with the helicopter is that it comes as far as the new bridge and travels slowly back along the river towards town before returning to repeat this short journey again and again searching the river and the riverbank in hopes/fear of finding the missing person. While we were in the garden this afternoon, the helicopter spent half an hour and more in front of and above the garden, close enough for me to feel the downdraught. If is difficult to simply carry on regardless, not thinking of what circumstances had lead to today’s situation, and the realisation comes that somebody is in mortal danger or, possibly/probably already dead and that this was a search rather than a rescue. And then, you think that there is a family somewhere in turmoil, in the deepest distress, with life changed forever.

How easy it is to let it all pass by, unconcerned, unaffected! We owe a huge debt of gratitude and of respect to those who work in the rescue services. They have chosen to face these situations on our behalf, to deal with those distressing areas of life we all wish to avoid.

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Meanwhile, in the garden:

Something completely different which may, or may not, interest you: I will be giving a talk via Zoom to memers of the Hardy Plant Society’s Galanthus Group on Irish snowdrops on Wednesday, 26th October, at 7.30pm Greenwich time. It you would like to “tune in” you can drop a line to Lyn Miles galanthus@hardy-plant.org.uk when Lyn will ask you to donate £7.50 and provide you with a link to the talk.

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