Did Shakespeare ever think it would come to this?
His Ophelia is now on the mainstay of conversation all over our country. Schools are closed, hospital appointments cancelled, Government Departments empty and all because of Ophelia. Our Taoiseach has reached out to the nation, assuring one and all that the Government is ready for Ophelia.
I had Mass this morning and locked the Church after Mass in the knowledge that nobody would be out "on a day like this" and feeling it the safer thing to do.
I've been advised to get batteries for flashlamps, candles for the house and to fill a bath with water. Solid advice for sure - and followed! All of us are being advised to stay indoors and to make no journeys that are not totally essential.
All the while Ophelia revs up. We see endless computerised diagrams, charting her twisting journey in our direction. Countless words are written and spoken. Estimates are given - the "time of arrival". Code Red.
The "ex-hurricane" is enough hurricane for us. Maybe it's my imagination but the winds seem to be getting stronger, even as I type. I might venture out to have a look.
Home becomes very important on days like these - the familiar to us takes on a new meaning and level of significance. We like to know where we are "in the storm". It makes sense.
That's what they're talking about for Mayo. Around 1pm-3pm. An hour away.
I feel safe! Not least because I know where I am. There are a lot of trees around my house and people admire them. Planted long before I was even imagined, they give a shape to the place. I sometimes wonder do I respect them as much as I should. I often take photos of the ones at the front of the house (even the banner on the blog features some of them) and I love the way they tell the story of the year. Heading towards nakedness now for a few months, the branches reveal themselves and say "don't forget about us." Then the spring brings the buds and the summer the fullness of leaves in glorious colours before the autumn and winter bring us back to the basics.
I hope Ophelia leaves them alone. Certainly if anything happened to them, I'd notice in a way that, perhaps, I don't notice when they're just "there". Funny how easily we take things (and people) for granted.
Tomorrow, they tell us, Ophelia will have passed. Truly I hope that nobody is injured or loses their lives. We pray protection for people's property and a special remembrance for emergency services and crews who have to face the day when need arises.
In a few days time, if we've been lucky enough to escape damage, Ophelia will drift out of our minds again and be the character in a Shakespeare play that many may never read or have forgotten. It's only if we are personally affected, the memory of Ophelia will stay with us when the winds die down.
There's something about life going on here. Not sure how to name it or write about it but it seems to be about acknowledging storms that are more powerful than ourselves, preparing for them and doing our best to stay safe.
The risk is we forget all this until the next storm comes ....
"I shall the effect of this good lesson keep
As watchman to my heart." (Ophelia - Hamlet Act 1 Scene 3)