Theatre of the absurd

The quaintly named ‘Badger Wood’ in St. Catherine’s Park
– a tiny enclave of planted conifers on the edge of older, mixed deciduous woodland

In my last post, I was running around in circles, trying to drag my sorry arse around a tiny piece of woodland in the middle of Kildare. (On a side note, ecologically-speaking, we are the poorest of all the EU countries when it comes to tree coverage. Our neighbour, Meath, ranks the lowest in Ireland, and don’t be fooled by Leitrim clocking in as the most afforested county, as much of that is coniferous plantation, regularly harvested in fairly brutal fashion. Indeed, if you look at Wikipedia’s list of forests in Ireland, Kildare does not even have an entry. Tiny Donadea Wood is quite the outlier. I could handle the fact that much of Kildare is bogland and the wide, open plains of the Curragh if the rest of the country picked up the slack, but that is not the case. We have to do better.)

So. A week may be a long time in politics. In global terms, it’s been quite the seismic shift since my last post. (Not that unironedman’s witterings have any bearing on world affairs. Leastways, I sincerely hope not. What a thought.)

We know roughly what has happened, even if we are shy of detail. Regardless of how or why we got here, the sovereign nation of Ukraine has been invaded by Russia. As I walked the dogs in the woods, my phone ‘binged’ from a work colleague to let me know that Putin had placed his nuclear arsenal on a war footing. And seconds later, I spied one of my park favourites: Wood Anemone.

Wood Anemone

Life can be funny at times. As the old gag goes:
“Ask me; what’s the secret to good comedy…”
“Okay, what’s the secret to g…”
“Timing!”

The internet is awash with misinformation. And disinformation. And just to prove how my odd mind works, I might draw your attention to a graphic I put together recently for a poster I designed. It’s outside a water treatment plant in Kildare (the largest such plant in the country). It’s not quite the claim to fame (compare and contrast with our tree cover, for example), but I guess someone has to treat the water for thirsty Dubliners, and due to its height and location near Blessington Lakes (fun fact, it’s only one lake), it is an interesting plant as it uses gravity for much of its operations, including delivery from the plant to the capital.

Well, dear reader. Consider trying to screen your internet and media feeds coming at you from all angles. The heavy duty stuff you can probably sift out straight away. But then you need to let some of the raw data tumble around your head for a bit and then see what settles. Filter out the nasties and try and cleanse your mind of the ropey stuff before allowing the mostly potable content enter your consciousness.

It’s not going to score highly on my metaphor-meter, but I don’t care; I did the damn graphic and I’m going to recycle it if I like!


Water treatment plant schematic

While I’m here, extolling the virtues of rambling. let me give a shout out to my blogging friend, Niall, who referenced the ‘may you live in interesting times’ quote. I was going to use that in this post until I read Niall’s. First come, first served! Niall loves to cycle, and when not out on the bike, loves a good hike in the woods or the mountains. A perfect antidote to the ills of today’s news. Give him a follow. You’ll feel the better for it.

No doubt you have learned a lot about Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky. Former comic and actor. Winner of Ukraine’s Dancing with the Stars. Voiceover of their version of Paddington. Licensed lawyer. Fluent in several languages. Elected on an anti-corruption platform. Some may sniff at a comic becoming a country’s leader, but consider this: to be a good comic you must understand human behaviour. Politics is the theatre of the absurd played out in parliament. Comedy is the same, played out in theatres. Now, across that country, they have been forced to trade their movie theatres for theatres of war. It’s truly hard to believe we have moved not forwards since World War II and the subsequent Cold War, but in a grotesque circle, like some modern-day Ouroboros. Saturn devouring his son. A world devouring itself.

Ukraine is just one of several current war zones. In no particular order, let me just post these facts:
The distance from Dublin to Ukraine is 2,727 km
…from Dublin to Gaza Strip is 4,047 km
…from Dublin to Syria is 4,020 km
…from Dublin to Yemen is 6,318 km

Perhaps our emotional realm only reaches so far? Still, who can not be moved by the stories and images.

So, today is the first of March. Officially, according to the meteological types, the first day of Spring. I was in the park today, taking some photos, and I had a strange sensation as I emerged from the cool woods to make my way back home. Heat. The sun was out. Flowers were starting to emerge and even bees were braving the elements. Back at home, the PV panel that powers the solar panel pump kicked in, with its familiar and comforting hum.

Frog spawn in the park this week
Castletown House catches the early morning sun
Gary and me, on our Sunday morning run

It seems the world is doing its best to placate the rattled nerves. My logical brain does its best to point out that we are simply witnessing the turning of the earth on its axis. The great world spins, and we spin with it. As we set out on another turn around the sun, it is only natural that nature will do its level best to ignore the absolutely fucking mental humans that seem hell bent on destroying the only planet we have.

But the softer, emotional side clutches at the positives in a time of great uncertainty, and looks forward to a time of late night walks with the dogs, rambles in the woods, and slipping into the silky waters of the Liffey. What else can you do?

Perhaps it is better to be a dog in times of tranquility than a human in times of chaos…


9 thoughts on “Theatre of the absurd

  1. Amen to that. Better a comic becoming leader than leaders becoming comic figures? Interestingly, the National Trust is on a tree-planting mission over here. The trust owns a lot of land around our small parish and there are new trees everywhere. Apparently, there are plans to plant 38,000 in the nearby area in the next 3 years.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There are many days I would definitely prefer to be a dog than a human….

    Thanks for the very kind shout out, very nice words 😊

    Finally as I’m in use unchecked quotes mode here’s another:

    “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

    I have to admit to definite envy watching many UK and US YouTubers and their seemingly endless options for woods to camp in…

    Liked by 1 person

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