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nine hundred and eighty millibars; falling rapidly... by Niall O'Donovan
 

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  • The wind is howling in the chimney, but we're well cocooned in the comfortable warmth of this beautiful house. The night is black, I cannot see out, the dark, un-curtained panes, mirror-like, reflect the space we move around in. If you could look out you would know I am writing to you tonight from a room on a cliff high above the sea, where the Atlantic rollers crash and collide with the south Irish coast. This is my brothers house. He and his wife are not here; they are off skiing in France. It is our last night here ; tomorrow my wife and I fly back to Amsterdam.

    I am here to visit my aged mother who has advanced dementia. She has become very frail in the last year, but the facility where she lives give her the best care possible. She has been in wonderful form the few days that we have been here. But her condition, like the Irish weather, is changeable.

    The early storms of confusion have thankfully passed over. She seems now to pass through calmer waters. But inevitably she is a vessel without a rudder, unable to steer course; her gps has malfunctioned.

    We, her children, do what we can to guide her on her way; to light(en) her day. And like today listening to Jose Carreras sing Che Gelida Manina, she seems to have moments of great lucidity.

    But just as quickly as a weather change here on the coast, her brow will darken, a dense fog will roll in, robbing her of clarity. Disorientation abounds.

    Like salt air corroding every surface, the process of erosion continues.
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