It seems as if Winter has returned once more and blankets the house in the shape of heavy unforgiving showers. Though spread out at hourly intervals, when they do come, they bring dramatic hurtles of hail and an icy north wind in their wake. Prior to the showers the sky turns a dark purple, almost the colour of a blueberry and I have learned that the blueberry colour heralds the next shower to move in from the northwest. Once the shower has passed, the sky opens up briefly and changes to a soft grey blue shade, a colour I once admired in an Art Gallery in Cork City. The colour on the walls complimented the paintings and produced a sense of calm in the room. Understated and tasteful. I observed the showers this afternoon with the skill of a meteorologist and having stood and watched the wind and the rain pass I donned my fleece hat and took off down the road past the new house with the most god awful rock in the middle of the lawn that says ''The Lonesome Tree''. It looks so out of place here and for some strange reason the vision of John Wayne riding across the fields came to mind or was that, The Lonesome West? Anyway, whatever, the man who has built the house is always doing something with his place, putting up gates and moving rocks around. He is a little odd and I never can predict if he will return my neighbourly wave or just look at me as if I don't exist. Strangely enough he was not visible today although I did note a massive bunch of daffodils in the window. Nice touch, Mr. Lonesome Tree. I walked on down the road and took an old route off the main thoroughfare. This is the nostalgic way because I walked this path when my boys were small, two of them not quite the height of the wild flowers that once grew along here and one, my youngest son, still buckled into a stroller. The ritual never varied in those long ago days. Each time, when we got to a certain spot on the road, we had to park the stroller by the hedgerow and climb through a stile cut into the stone wall and make our way down through the blackberry brambles to an ancient stone well. There we drank the coolest freshest water, cupping our hands to scoop and sup. The water was surely the finest wine I have ever tasted. Simple and understated and not celebrated because now in its place is a septic tank and a Celtic Tiger house with its leaded windows and patio and gates that are out of place and out of proportion to the landscape and an intercom system set into a wall and lo and behold a CCTV camera. Funnily the house looks vacant and unloved and I am guessing its owners are out trying to scrape together the horrendous mortgage that they find themselves paying. Down aways I come upon the lane and the dog pulls me along, delirious with seductive scents on the furrowed path that leads to the rusted gate where the old farmer often stood amongst his chickens. In the long ago days we would stop and pass a few minutes underneath the shadow of his calm face and his bluest eyes and his sad though pleasant countenance. Alone and old and living in his beautiful farmhouse. Today it looked forlorn and forgotten. Neglected. Somebody had left a burnt out car at the top of the avenue that leads up to the house. I pushed open the gate and found that I had to bend low down to walk underneath the overgrown branches that made an arch over my path. I kept walking and veered into the field where daffodils grow in abundance. I picked some out of reverence for this place and as I stood there I could hear what sounded like the sea, the roar of an ocean, blowing in the tall pines in a copse beside the avenue. I closed my eyes. I closed my eyes partly because I wanted to block out the pollution, the way we have gone, the desecration of the past and partly because I needed to remember, to clearly see what once was. As I headed for home I cursed. I cursed The Celtic Tiger. I cursed it because it has so much to answer for.