“During her long life (she died in 2012) she experienced such changes I’m sure no one living in the early C20th could have imagined; but at the heart of everything my Nana witnessed, she remained an extraordinary, ordinary woman.”
And that got me thinking about how extraordinary is most visible in the ordinary, the everyday.
IKEA has a strapline on its ads: “The Wonderful Everyday”. It’s marketing, yes, but like the best marketing, it is also true.
The beauty in the banal is a recurring theme in the poetry of Patrick Kavanagh.
Three quick examples. In “Epic”, he recalled the happenings in Monaghan when the world was shifting on its axis in Munich, and reminded himself that Homer “made the Iliad from such / A local row”. In “Canal Bank Walk”, he does “The will of God, wallow in the habitual, the banal, Grow with nature again as before I grew.” And in “Advent”, he writes about “the spirit-shocking Wonder in a black slanting Ulster hill”.
All of it and more happening all around us when we stop and breathe and look.
In an age when so much is digital and online and ephemeral and wispy, all around us are tangible things, things we can see and feel and sense and touch and which reconnect us to our spirit and our self.
The ordinary is truly extraordinary, when we choose to see it that way.