Rediscovering colour in winter


Sir, – These past few months have been the hardest of my life, as they have been for so many people. Remote working kicked in and my shifts starting depleting. I have had to work hard to have work during this period.

At the beginning of summer my parents made the decision temporarily to move from Wicklow to their house in Mayo, as my brother is a teacher and would soon be going in and out of the school, potentially bringing the virus home.

With them gone and my brother back to work, the silence of the house became this blanket of loneliness and I soon felt myself slip into this sea of me and nothing else. I feared my mental health would suffer and I would become depressed. I had the radio on in every room, to feel less alone and less left behind. Simple things like preparing a nice meal for myself, getting dressed or brushing my hair seemed pointless. Thank goodness for my dog, Randy. She was the only responsibility I felt I had.

When autumn crept in and the leaves began to change, I found myself in the garden with a cup of tea. It was very mild but the wind was blowing strong. There is a wonderful silver birch tree that stands tall by our shed, it is my favourite tree and it was dancing in the wind, full of movement and full of life. The leaves had turned a magnificent burning orange, making the curling bark look more silver than ever before. I don’t remember the tree changing colour, in fact I had not noticed my favourite tree in quite a while, but I did on this morning.

Later that day, I went into my mother’s art studio, a little octagon shed that sits beside the house, perched among some potted plants, ferns, and the pond. It is filled with canvases and boxes of oil and acrylics paints, creating this beautiful chaos of colour and comfort.

I sat down that evening and began to paint, for the first time in around 10 years. I stayed in there for six hours, listening to Lyric FM and drinking red wine. I could feel the happiness and joy flowing back into my body. Since then, I have painted every day and when I am not painting, I am moving and walking and working and feeling something, once again.

This time is hard and challenging, but I managed to find colour in my life again and I thought sharing this, might help someone who is stuck in that same darkness. I had forgotten, but then remembered, that the sun will always rise tomorrow, helping the flowers to grow. – Yours, etc,