West Cork Time
West Cork does it for me. It’s
a magical corner of south-west Ireland
where landscape is weatherscape. It’s
both timeless and in constant motion.
Clouds drift perpetually overhead
from the vast spaces of the Atlantic.
constantly flows and ebbs on almost
empty beaches, leaving its rippling
on the sand. You can sit on clifftops,
rocky promontories, in ancient stone
and feel suspended in time, en-tranced.
Landscape and skyscape are the narcotics
that soothe all your worries away.
I once spent two weeks in West Cork,
endlessly paddling in clear water
and lying on my back looking at the
sailing clouds until I felt the world
and that I was hovering in a green
sky looking down on the blue. When
returned to the city I felt wonderfully
calm and optimistic until the city
rush in at me in all its panic and
But this time I had a mantra. ‘West
Cork Time,’ I’d say to
the urgency would creep back like
an ebbing tide. Instantly my eyes
look skywards from a crowded pavement
and find the clouds that float over
cities too. My heart rate would slow
and my blood pressure fall. Inside
tuned into timelessness, and the pressure
of the city sighed and deflated.
Of course, if you live in a city,
its insistent rhythms and human conflicts
will demand that you respond to them
on their terms sooner or later. But
Cork Time never goes away. It’s
always there as a resource. Maybe
for you it’s
Caribbean Time or Kerala Time or Aegean
Time. You know what I mean. It’s
time that’s too big to be measured
on clocks and it never runs out.