We have an exotic butterfly that I christened Trump last summer when we installed him in the little conservatory at the rear of the house.
Trump resembles the Red Admiral species that are rare in Clare. He is solar powered and he fluttered madly all through the fall just like his namesake over there.
Come dark and dreary November and December though, no sunlight at all, only teems of unending rain and sleet, and Trump hid motionless over his corner pot.
I am glad to report this week that, as the weather brightly improves, Trump is in full and almost frantic flight again. I'd swear that if he wasn’t attached to a wire he would fly out the door and head for Iowa or New Hampshire or thereabouts.
Yes, there is an emerging feel-good factor over the island as January extends each evening's daylight by about five minutes, as the sun shines for most of the day, as the rain largely eases except for occasional passing showers, as the dreadful flooding situation on the Shannon slowly improves, as the recession eases at about the same pace, as the Gaelic footballers and hurlers take to the parks again for the opening matches of the national leagues, as Gay Byrne survives an apparently mild heart attack and heads back to work, and above all, in terms of stimulation and excitement, the first moves are being made by all parties in advance of a general election that will energize us all in a matter of mere weeks.
Yes, as Trump flies high again close to me as I write, the breezes blow a feel-good factor. Those have been sadly rare for too many years lately.
Our Finance Minister Michael Noonan, a toughly likeable and able politician, was also laid low with pneumonia in the last days of 2015 but, dammit, he has bounced back into his office looking as wily as ever and, in essence, he is presiding over a pre-election giveaway for the masses which is akin in scope to that of the Fianna Failers in their prime.
Free fodder is already being airlifted to farmers affected by flooding; millions of euros in compensation and respite payments are being dished out to those who had to abandon their flooded homes during the December storms. There are even strong suggestions from the government that folk who are likely to be affected adversely by Shannon flooding will be given financial assistance to re-locate on higher and safer ground. And there are to be more hospital beds to cope with the problems of overcrowded hospitals.
And long before this (election) year is over, it seems that the growing problem of evicted people having to sleep on the streets will be solved forever. There will be more hostel beds provided.
Yes, there is a feel-good factor if you are given to believing all you hear from politicized tonsils in an election year.
And sure, as ye well know, I am not a cynical soul at all. I always remember what I saw written once in my sister's autograph book: "The optimist fell 10 stories/And at each window bar/ He shouted to his comrades/'All right so far!'"
In all fairness it has to be said that, for the first time in years, there is clear evidence of more jobs being created across the economy. There is also evidence of government revenues sharply improving -- well above targets -- and of falling unemployment in the provinces as well as in greater Dublin.
The only bleak enough bit of news I care to share with ye is that our Tanaiste Joan Burton of the Labour Party fell out of a boat and got well drenched when visiting the Shannon flooding scenes. The wry political commentators making hay from election prophecies are suggesting that her party, now in government with Fine Gael, is highly likely to fall out of the ship of state's cabins in the upcoming elections. The Labour poll numbers are very poor and the omens for them are not good.
As my lively and highly animated Trump uses the last of this evening's solar generated energy, and your Trump appears on TV in the corner praising that dreadfully lethal North Korean dictator for the manner in which he gets things done, I am lightly moved into prediction mode by the feel-good factor and accordingly to offer my opinion that by the time the Shannon has returned to its own natural bed, and all the votes have been counted, that Enda Kenny is highly likely to be returned as taoiseach again. He will not have Labour as a partner next time but he will be able to quite easily cobble together another coalition.
One way or another we are heading into an interesting spring as January stretches itself in sunlight on our windowsills, like an old wise tomcat, as Dublin footballers win the first match of a season which will see them crowned All Ireland champions again next September.
And my crazy Trump, just like yours, flies high for now!