The Cows Are in The Fields.

by ericavanhorn

25 February Friday

I was on the bus traveling up from Cork. The man in the seat behind me talked eagerly to the young lad beside him. The boy was excited. He had just passed his driver’s test and he had a car at home that he had been fixing up. It was almost ready for the road. The man seemed to feel it was his job to give the boy some encouragement. Once he started talking I never heard another word from the boy.

“You’ll be off the buses for good when you’ve got your own motor car, lad.”

“Just go carefully. Take it sweet and easy. Whatever you do, you must never draw attention to yourself. That is the best advice I can give you.”

“Are you very good at the parking so?”

“I’ll take a spin in it with you if you like and I’ll tell you what kind of a driver you are.”

“I’ve never had a ticket for speeding or bad tires or anything at all. I’ve never had a single ticket. I’ve always been a driver Under The Radar me. That is the kind of driver you want to be.”

26 February Saturday

The weather has been wild. It changes every few minutes. I look out a window and see one thing coming down and by the time I turn to another window there is something else happening: RAIN. SUN. SLEET. RAIN. SUN. RAIN. SNOW. SUN. SLEET. SUN. HAIL. RAIN. SLEET. RAIN. SUN. HAIL. SUN. WIND WIND WIND WIND. RAINBOW. WIND. SNOW. SLEET. RAIN. SUN. WIND. WIND. Always the wind. Never stopping. WIND.

27 February Sunday

People were gathered around and talking in the space between the church and the shop. Mass had just ended.  I usually try to avoid this time. I try to be either earlier or later going to the village on a Sunday. I prefer to miss the muddle of people congregating and conversing while they leave the church. As I came out of the shop, I heard one man ask another: “Well, Johnny, How are ye? I heard you had lost your mind. Tell me now, is there any truth in it?”

28 February Monday

Andrzej has cleared the sides of the path and moved the fallen branches. Wind toppled trees have been sawn up and stacked in the lean-to for firewood. There is a lot of deep mud to struggle through but the walk up past Johnnie Mackin’s is more clear than it has been for over a year. It feels like a walk to a whole new place.

I March Tuesday

Ardfinnan is a village chock full of homemade seats in public places. Wherever one walks there is a bench or chair or something rigged up so that a brief rest is possible. Some of the seats offer a view but many are just dropped down in a random location. Views do not seem especially important. There are tables too. There are not as many tables as there are chairs and benches but there are several tables if a person is looking to sit down, eat a sandwich and listen to the birds. One table surprises me each time I see it. It has four legs encased in blocks of concrete. The concrete on the base of the legs is to ensure that the table cannot tip over, nor can it be stolen or pushed into the stream by hooligans. But there are no seats anywhere near to the table so it is not there for the eating of a sandwich or chatting with a friend over coffee. I am not sure what it is for.

2 March Wednesday

I saw Lena in the shop. She called out, “Hello Sally!” I answered, “I am not Sally.” She was wearing her mask but even so I could still see that her face registered shock. “Of course you are Sally. You have always been Sally.” I told her that I have never been Sally even though she has been calling me Sally for years. I told her that I never felt like correcting her but today I decided to just tell her that my name is not Sally. She screwed up her face and looked at me carefully, before she asked, “Why today?”

4 March Friday

Weather is the main topic of discussion. Weather rules our lives. This week has been cold. Very cold. Temperatures drop very low at night and every morning is frosty. The daffodils begin the day lying down flat on white crunchy grass. When the sun finally breaks through, the rest of the daylight hours are bright and cold and green. The daffodils stand up. The cows are in the fields. They are out from under cover during the afternoons. The winds are bitter and unrelenting but the blue sky makes everyone feel better. They say: “Well, at least it is dry.” Any day that is not wet is considered A Good Day.

5 March Saturday

Council workers with shovels and diggers have moved through the area. They made gashes in the grass and lumpy earth beside the roads to allow for the run-off of excess rainwater. The hopeful idea is to prevent flooding on the roads. There is no rain now and there has been no rain for a week or more, but they know it will come so it is important to be ready. It is an annual precaution and it always looks ugly.

9 March Wednesday

It is snowing. All night and all morning, and all day yesterday, it has been raining. Water has been gushing down the boreen and down the path, only taking a sharp right turn just before it reaches the kitchen door. Torrents of water have fallen. The noise from the beating rain was so loud that it was not possible for us to talk to each other over breakfast.  The noise of the rain hitting the roof was too loud. Now it is noon and the rain has turned to snow. I know it is too wet for snow to accumulate but even so the big fat wet flakes are beginning to pile up on surfaces. It is the ninth of March. Local opinion is that we have had our spring before our winter.