An obvious chill in the air reminds you of the time of the year but the shiny bursts of sun poking their heads out the clouds would have you thinking its mid-June. Unusually mild too as the ground is amiss its dusted white carpet. But things are different in every sense this year, here in Lurgan as they are in Luxembourg to Las Vegas.
But one thing that remains unchanged is Lurgan Park, one of the largest parks in Ireland it holds memories for all. With the town centre dominated with shop shutters, it has remained a space of solace for locals in times of unpredictability to forget the darkness that has dominated their lives.
Greeted by the towering trees at either side of the path, their branches embrace to wrap themselves around all whom they dwarf in their world.
An early Saturday morning brings families, dogs, couples, runners, or folks who just want a bit of peace. Anecdotes and anxieties about the rather peculiar Christmas approaching paused with interludes of small talk with strangers. Smiles, laughs, moans, tears all absorbed by the concrete of the ground and the soil of the grass.
The fountain situated at the centre of the park is surrounded with Christmas trees and on the benches locals soak some of its spirit while sipping on coffees courtesy of the Ice cream van, conveniently parked by the play park.
Kids are not dampened by the burdens that they have faced when there is a swing set, climbing frame or trampoline to purge their endless energy. As well as the hope that Santa will be able to bring some light in a few weeks’ time.
Adjacent to this, the lake which takes its shape around the core of the park. At its edge, swans patrol protectively, with ducks in need of bread bobbing towards the families with surplus bread to be feed handsomely.
Above all, the park is a symbol of something much greater. In a town where a line divides us, the park erases it and bridges the gap.