Lesley Garner
Lesley Garner
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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. The tide
constantly flows and ebbs on almost empty beaches, leaving its rippling signature
on the sand. You can sit on clifftops, rocky promontories, in ancient stone circles,
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 reverse
and that I was hovering in a green sky looking down on the blue. When I
returned to the city I felt wonderfully calm and optimistic until the city began to
rush in at me in all its panic and urgency.

But this time I had a mantra. ‘West Cork Time,’ I’d say to myself and
the urgency would creep back like an ebbing tide. Instantly my eyes would
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 myself I
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 West
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.

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