Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Signs of Life

photo by George Karbus
Wild Ocean Photography
Ireland has suffered high swells and storm surges from North Atlantic storms over this holiday season, bringing with them a plethora of dramatic video footage and photographs.

Seen here, the coastal village of Lahinch, County Clare in Ireland's west. Normally a sleepy surfing and golf community, the place was probably the most battered along any of Ireland's coasts. Waves on this night actually destroyed the promenade along the strand, but also flooded the adjacent golf links and drowned the surf shop's van and most of the village streets. Fortunately, no deaths or serious injuries have been reported as a result of this storm. Though, south along the Clare coast to Loop Head, the peninsula was cut off when surges turned the peninsula into an island for some time, stranding residents on the higher elevations on the head.

Superstorm Christine, as the recent storm is being called, has been spinning around in the North Atlantic for a few days, bringing with her continued high swells and even more dramatic surges onto land. The Island of Inishboffin off the coast of Connemara in County Galway saw some of the worst overall flooding --

Some folks in the media are saying these storms are the worst in two decades. I've lived in various places in Ireland for nearly 17 years now, and I'm pretty sure those predictions are correct. Of course, this doesn't include the three snow storms Ireland had over 15 months from December 2009 to February 2010. Those mostly resulted in road closures, cancellation of public transportation, and slip and fall accidents. Floods are much more damaging.

But it's not all doom and gloom. While all of Ireland has been affected by the high tides, surges, and flooding, there is light on the horizon, and signs of life all around, if you look.

21 December was the winter solstice -- the shortest day of the year. Nearly three weeks later, there's a notable lengthening to the day. While the storm has brought high tides, it really hasn't dropped too much rain in most places. And as I write this on 7 January 2014, at 420pm near Drogheda on the County Meath side of the town, it's currently 49F, pale blue overhead with pastel clouds as we head to sunset, and a gentle breeze blowing in off the sea, which is just 500 meters away over the dunes. I should note that on the solstice, it was already dark by this time.

In our back garden, signs of life are emerging --

Daffodils -- Normally March-blooming


Big Sur California Lilac -- Normally April through June blooming
and yes, I found these in Ireland! Love them!

Irish Fuchsia -- Flowering June - October

Pomegranate tree -- Normally fruiting September to February
but only now starting to bloom.

Are we in for an early Spring (normally coming 1/2 February if Phil doesn't see his shadow)? Who knows?!

What I do know is that the storms can't last forever, seasons are changing, and no matter what's happening on the planet, there's always blue sky above the clouds.

Happy New Year!