Whatever the season - there'll be rain in Ireland! The last few days have been unusual in that snow has taken the place of our normal weather ... but with today's thaw we might return to the typical climate and enjoy a good soaking once again. Snowmen will survive longer than the loose covering on the grass, or even the hard-packed ice on the footpaths. The early winter of 2010 is one to remember! Hopefully it will be another seventeen years before we have to put up with the inconvenience of this again. Maybe by then there will be equipment readily available to clear the roads and keep life moving along.
Returning from an early appointment in the city centre I spotted this installation. My sister had mentioned it - but from her description I had no idea of the scale. I've still to discover what it is and a quick trawl of the Belfast information hasn't turned up any reference to it at all. In the background of the photograph the Christmas Market at the City Hall is just wakening up - and for once I didn't visit Jimmy Bean! No doubt I'll return to take more pictures of "this". I'm intrigued and love the way the sun catches the top ...
I wonder what people think of it ... someday it would be fun to carry out a survey in the area and hear the comments of passers by! I felt very conspicuous today as I took photographs. Everyone was rushing. Some clearly heading in to work and buses seem to have been running late which never helps if you're in a hurry. Others were out to do Christmas shopping before the stores become uncomfortably (or energetically) busy. I, a keyboard player and a Big Issue seller were the only people standing (or sitting) still.
A coin I dropped into the keyboard player's hat did an embarrassing bounce right out and began to roll away! We grinned at each other as I had to give chase and then place it a little more gently the second time. He was good - playing a selection of well-known Christmas carols and adding his own bit of festive cheer to Royal Avenue.
There is so much to see in that part of the city with interesting architecture and the reflections in windows at every level. The rushing crowds rarely notice the beauty (I think). It is good to have the moments of wonder, of review, of rest .... they punctuate the day and give it a rhythm.
Things happen that can so easily upset the equilibrium of our lives ... to have those moments captured in memory give places to which we can return. The "picture" helps to bring back the stillness ... and the "picture" can be in the mind just as easily as in the camera.
Dear Lord and Father of mankind,
forgive our foolish ways;
re-clothe us in our rightful mind,
in purer lives thy service find,
in deeper reverence, praise.
In deeper reverence, praise.
Drop thy still dews of quietness,
till all our strivings cease;
take from our souls the strain and stress,
and let our ordered lives confess
the beauty of thy peace.
The beauty of thy peace.
Breathe through the heats of our desire
thy coolness and thy balm;
let sense be dumb, let flesh retire;
speak through the earthquake, wind and fire,
O still small voice of calm.
O still small voice of calm.
Church Hymnal 549 (again!)
John G Whittier (verses 1, 4 and 5)