Sunday, Sperrins and snow
Pól Ó Muirí
I thought I had done well getting up for 9am Mass, thinking I would beat the rush. However, the chapel was soon packed with young and old. Indeed, any virtuous notion I had of attending an early Mass was soon put in context by the parish priest who mentioned that he and another three score of the faithful had been up for a 6am prayer service at the edge of Lough Neagh to mark the Resurrection. It must have been some sight, watching the sun rise over the lough this morning. There is snow on the Sperrins and they look very picturesque. How much nicer they would have been in first light! Ah, well maybe next year if I am spared.
That said, the Sperrins were still looking very picturesque by the time I undertook by mid-morning cycle. They may never feature in the Tour de France but they are a very dramatic backdrop for this weekend warrior on wheels – a weekend warrior who is feeling ever more the professional now that he has a proper road bike. Yes, Santa brought me a Trek racer for Christmas – though Santa’s Little Helper did warn me that, under no circumstances, was I to take it out on winter roads. “The grit ruins them, boy, just ruins them,” said Santa’s Little Helper in his best mid-Ulster accent.
There is no grit now and it has to be said that the only thing ruining the Trek is the rider! Still, even someone as slow as myself finds the miles dropping away on a good bike like this. It was a good run along the lough shore, one that makes you grateful to be alive, one that reminds you of just how great a gift life is. On my regular hack, there is a discreet memorial to the victim of a sectarian murder. I will not write his name as it would not be appropriate – but he is remembered in prayer once more on this day when the sun shines over the lough and the snow rests on the Sperrins.