A Small Event in Farmleigh

First published 6th August 2013

 

I was sitting at my ease outside the cafe in Farmleigh, the magnificent estate in the Phoenix Park that the government had the wisdom to buy for the nation. The veranda of the cafe sits over the edge of the little lake that nestles between the trees, which lends a wonderful artistic dimension to the park. I had a cup of coffee, a homemade scone and some jam in front of me this lovely summer’s day. Children were throwing bread to the pair of swans and the many ducks who were vying for the attention of the donors. One mallard hen had eight ducklings in her wake, the chicks gave the impression that they were running on the water at times in their haste.

Three women were sitting nearby, pots of tea and cups before them, apparently without a care in the world, but then I heard one of them say “I’m not afraid of dying, until I think of the kids being without me, then a great sorrow, a crushing feeling of loneliness comes over me”. When one hears something like this, questions come unbidden to mind, the first and foremost being ‘Where is the hand of God in all this? Why does God allow so much suffering in the world? This is a question that theologians feebly try to answer, modern philosophers don’t even try.

As I was preparing to leave I sneaked a glance at the women, one was wearing a big cap, a sort of a beret, pulled down over her ears, an indication maybe that chemotherapy had or was being endured. My heart went out to her, my sister had died of cancer and my wife had breast cancer a couple of years previously. Fortunately my wife had survived this savage and merciless disease, but she too had worn a variety of caps while undergoing treatment.

I left, went on my way, walking in the sun, the ducklings were still running hither and thither on the picturesque lake. The three women were chatting, drinking their tea, but what of the woman in the big cap? Did she go on meeting her pals for elevenses in Farmleigh? Did God, or the Lifeforce, or Fate spare her? Will she live to see her children reach adulthood? I hope she does, oh I hope she does.

Eachtra bheag i bPáirc an Fhionnuisce

First published 5th August, 2013.

 

Eachtra bheag i bPáirc an Fhionnuisce

Clive Geraghty

Bhí me ar mo shuaimhneas, i mo shuí lasmuigh den chaife i bhFarmleigh i bPáirc an Fhionn Uisce. Bhí cupán caife agam agus bonnóg agus subh os mo chomhair amach. La álainn samhraidh, na lachain agus dhá eala ag ithe arán, páistí ag baint taitneamh as an gcaitheamh aimsire seo mar a dhéanann gach glúin. Bhí lacha amháin agus ál ocht éinín aici, na leanaí ag brostú i ndiaidh a máthair, cheapfá go rabhadar ag rith ar an uisce.

Bhí triúr ban taobh thiar díom, pota tae acu, iad, de réir dealramh, ag caitheamh roinnt ama anseo gan chúram ar bith. Ach chuala mé bean amháin, an bhean leis an gcaipín mór ar a cloiginn ag rá “níl imní ar bith orm bheith ag fáil bháis, go dtí go smaoiním ar na leanaí, iad a bheith ann gan mise. Tagann uaigneas, brón orm ansin”. Nuair a chloistear focail mar sin, is éasca uaireanta an saol a cheistiú, agus an cheist ba mhó ná, cá bhfuil lámh Dé anois. Cén fáth a ligtear tubaistí mar seo a tharla. Agus ar ndóigh, níl freagra ar bith ar an gceist sin, ní féidir fealsúna ná diagairí an cheist a fhreagairt.

Nuair a bhí mé ag fágaint na bialanna thug me sracfhéachaint, chonaic mé an caipín, saghas bairéad , tarraingthe síos ar a cluasa, fianaise go raibh ceimiteiripe á fhulaingt, nó fulaingthe ag an mbean óg. Ní gá dom a rá go raibh bá agam di, fuair mo dheirfiúr bás den ailse dhá bhliain ó shin, agus bhuail ailse bhrollaigh mo bhean chéile an bhliain chéanna, ach buíochas le Dia, tháinig sí slán ón ghalar gan trua seo.

D’imigh mé, choinnigh mé ar mo bhealach, choinnigh na héiníní lachain ag rith trasna an locha, ach cad faoin mbean óg. Ar choinnigh sise ar aghaidh le fada? Ní fheadar, ach tá súil agam go raibh trócaire ag Dia uirthi, agus nár fhág sí na páistí ina diaidh le fada an lá.