In a Word...

...Brigid

Flake, from Old English flakka, for ‘flat, level, particle’

Flake, from Old English flakka, for ‘flat, level, particle’

 

Dare I ask, but have you noticed? It’s true, the days are longer. That extra light in the evenings is real. And, it has nothing to do with the alleged Kerry theory as to why days are longer in summer than winter.

In a unique interpretation of the laws of thermodynamics, it is claimed that in the Kingdom they believe this is because of expansion due to heat. It hardly applies now, in dark midwinter, but the days are irrefutably getting longer. No doubt, in Kerry, they have as ingenious an explanation for this too.

Today is approximately 2½ minutes longer than was the case on January 1st. It beckons us to ever-longer days ahead, with more and more light between now and the end of June.

This is no longer just light at the end of the tunnel. It is the light at the end of the day. All of which, combined with the spread of vaccines, is an indication of happier times ahead. All the sweeter because of the late, unlamented 2020, whose like we have no desire to ever see again, but the experience of which makes these times and those to come sweeter.

For verily it is written that the absence of good times in 2020 shall maketh those that cometh in 2021 all the more enjoyable.

And on Monday we celebrate St Brigid’s Day, or Imbolc in the traditional Irish calendar. It marks the beginning of spring and the halfway point between the winter solstice and spring equinox.

Yes, it’s that time of year when the only way is up.

In the old times February 1st was the day when St Brigid’s crosses were made, usually rushes woven into a four-armed cross. These were hung over doors, windows and stables for protection against fire, lightning, illness and evil spirits.

For many years the St Brigid’s cross was RTÉ Television’s logo, from its opening in 1961 until 1995. Despite which, some insist, it failed to protect the nation from “evil spirits” spreading their influence from there.

Totally untrue. Coming from a place to which rushes were native, I can testify that even sturdiest evil spirits would find it impossible to penetrate a St Brigid’s cross.

Brigid, an Irish female name, derived from the noun brígh, meaning “power, strength, virtue”. Also, “exalted one”

inaword@irishtimes.com

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