….. in which we deal with dryness.It is far too cold in the woodshed for John Joe Badger to practice his pipes.He must bring the noise making inside where it is warm and dry.Dry, yes.Winter is dry.And the pipes find themselves leaking air in all directions.What is John Joe to do???Well, he shores up leaky connections on his borrowed practice set with a twist of hemp thread, made sticky with a bit of beeswax.He puts a full kettle on the stove top to boil.These two things may help get John Joe through these trying, leaky, dry times.For today at least……
John Joe’s struggles are my own. I practice the pipes as much as I can, when I can find time alone in the house. They are loud! And not yet pleasant. (For others at least.) The dryness that comes with a “forced air” heating arrangement is mitigated a bit with cool mist humidification and of course, putting the kettle on as much as possible. It does help. And so does the bit of hemp and beeswax. It all feels very old fashioned. It’s testing parts of my brain and motor memory which need the exercise! I may never get to the point of playing this contraption out in the world. But who knows? I will say that I already have next week’s John Joe drawing idea in mind. And it involves flying curses. Til tuesday…..
Fine Folk grace the pages of my sketchbook, along with wise words from the wisdom keepers I trust. I look to these wisdom keepers as beacons, following their light, as will-o-the-wisp….. into the darkness.
One such beacon, writer Robert Macfarlane, was featured in an interview with Krista Tippett of the program On Being. They discuss a recent book of his called Underlandwhich is a gorgeous, lengthy tome; an exploration of the world beneath our feet as seen and sensed from a variety of angles. It’s the kind of book that deserves to be by one’s bedside to fill the mind with juicy and delicious language as a doorway into dreaming. This book apparently took Macfarlane 6 years to complete. He dipped into other projects along the way of course, but this one crept along, under everything else it would seem. It was worth the wait.
Underland explores a concept of Deep Time, one that is beyond human, but which can be tapped into by those of us with the proper notions to do so. If you have been reading my ideas here over the years, you know this is something I hold dear, this time-bending. I believe it is at the heart of the things we treasure as human beings. Good art, rich poetry, the ability to go beyond the day to day. To send our cultural tap roots down into the flow of All Things and perhaps channel something up. All of this of course takes time and practice. And there are no guarantees.
‘In verse, a pause in the rhythm of a line after a phrase; in choral work, a moment where singers might catch their breath.’
I really admire the depth of the work of writers such as Macfarlane, and I look to them for clues as to how to dig deeper into my own work. Art as well as writing. Even on social media channels, he and others like him make places like twitter and instagram into arenas of culture and idea-weaving. I aim to do the same, having curbed my own use of such channels into avenues of art and music. It’s a tricky balance in a world filled with instant sound-bytes and the next great and funny thing. Last week Macfarlane announced he will be off of twitter for a while with the word caesura and its definition.
I thought to myself, ‘I’d like to do that.’
The idea of taking a break from social media is by no means a new one, by myself or anyone else for that matter. There are books on digital detoxing which I have looked to when desperate for a break from it all. Lately, thankfully, I have not felt desperate to leave the online arenas of Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. I have them fairly well and carefully “curated” in order to see things which inspire me. New books to read, artists to research and learn something from, science to pique my curiosity and better my stewardship of my little part of the world. I choose when and how to get my “news” as that can be fraught with peril in this day and age. We must be careful what we feed ourselves, body and mind.
And yet, although not desperate to leave per se, I could use a break. What keeps me tethered to the usual channels is the business end of things. Usually, I am in marketing mode this time of year. Selling my classes to Taos and Guatemala. Hustling to show the world that yes, we go to beautiful places, have an amazing time together and make a bunch of gorgeous work. (WE DO!!!!! ) And this is all part of my job. But this year, I have been given a great gift….. My classes for 2020 are mostly sold out (there are two slots left in the second week of the Antigua offering. That’s it!) For once, I can relax a little bit. And so I am considering a break over the holidays.
If this idea comes to fruition, I’ll be off of twitter, facebook and instagram from Nov 29 – Jan 1.
I wonder sometimes, if I make something, or write something, but I don’t shout it into the void of the social media platforms, have I really created anything? This is the culture we are sold in this modern age. I would like to confront this culture, especially in my own mind. I’d like to follow some breadcrumbs of my own making just to see where they may lead. Without the pressure to report.
This will be an interesting experiment. I just began a weekly story idea which will continue to grow here, but folks will have to come find it, or wait until the New Year when I get back into the swing of things of sharing. Soon, I’ll be packing for Guatemala and sharing via instagram sun-kissed, color-washed images of our time in Antigua. It is in this way I beckon to future students to step into the sunshine with me and come on along!! But with the classes filled to brimming, and a lovely waitlist padded out for Taos, I feel I can take the social media break I’ve been craving for years, without having to crash and burn mentally to get it. It’s a good place to find myself.
So we shall see. It is always a balance. I may yet shift this plan into something less stringent. But I am always leaning toward trying a new tactic with regard to my presence in the online world. And for once I have the space to do so.
In other news…….
With Riley School out for break, I am back to sketching along with my mates in the Cincinnati Urban Sketchers. Last week we had a “boUrban sketchers” outing where we tasted bourbon at New Riff distillery. It was great fun!! Come along with us sometime!
I have a few paintings up at the Kennedy Heights Arts Center’s winter Collective show, EMERGE. This one below was the belle of the ball. I received many complements and offers to buy it. But alas, it was snatched up by a private collector just days before the show. I think the theme is one I’d like to explore further. The quietude of this piece seemed to speak to a number of people.
The other work on which I received a good bit of feedback is this little lovely, Bonny Hills, whose skies are filled with subtle color. This is a second theme I hope to explore further in more paintings in the new year. This one has not yet sold…. One of my fellow collective members said to me, I get the sense you were meant to be in Ireland. How right she is.
In the music arena, the Riley School of Irish music will present its annual holiday program Peace and Merriment, at 2 pm December 14. Our address is 2221 Slane Avenue in Cincinnati. Hope to see you there! We also play a weekly session out in town: 1st and 3rd Wednesdays we can be found at Ludlow Garage in Clifton, 2nd and 4th Tuesdays , Streetside Brewery on Eastern Avenue. Stop in and say hi!
Today I have the great pleasure of presenting a bit of my illustration work and sketchbook process to some college students at a local university. So I have been collecting a few of my books and drawings and have been thinking deeply how all of this stuff has affected and changed life as I know it. It’s amazing really.
Yes, I am an artist by trade and vocation. But I don’t think one has to be An Artist to find one’s path through life in an artistic manner.
Human beings are born makers.
“When we pay attention to who we believe we are and we surround ourselves with the things that reflect that story, with all its urges, aspirations and processes, we develop a perspective that’s uniquely ours to share. In turn we can share that unique perspective and, acting from a place of greater wholeness and awareness, thus become better and more useful members of our community.”
” I never knew I was creating a world which was an antithesis to the world around me which was full of sorrow, full of wars, full of difficulties. I was creating a world I wanted, and into this world, once it is created, you invited others and then you attract those who have affinities and this becomes a universe.”
Meet John Joe Badger. …. and his story in the coming weeks.
A borrowed practice set of Uillean Pipes. Loads upon loads of humility and patience. A fair bit of time. And patience. (Did we mention humility?) And humor too, of course. And we mustn’t forget the tea. Cups upon cups of tea. (I hear he’s partial to Lyon’s, with a splash of fresh milk).
These are just a few of the things John Joe Badger will need as he begins his journey down the perilous and noisy road of learning a bit about the Uillean piping tradition in Irish music. There will be blowouts, embarrassment, hours alone in the woodshed. (And more ungodly sounds!) But our John Joe is keen. He’s made a few friends on this same tricky path already and he’s acquired a teacher whom he’s fairly certain is a saint or perhaps an angel disguised as a fellow Irish musician.
This is week one of A Twist of Hemp. A little set of storied pictures of a timid badger making his way, albeit clumsily, down this musical path. Stay tuned!!
Rain is falling and it is said snow is coming. What a perfect time to share this……
So excited to finally share with you a little drawing I made in late summer or so. It is the cover art crafted for a beautiful collection of pre-twentieth century European Christmas carols, all arranged for fiddle and guitar and performed with such delicate grace by Finn MaGill.
You can obtain this music digitally via the link below during pre-order days for just $7 until Nov. 29:
In a world so mad with the day to day, it is really nice to find a pensive work of music to set the tone. Especially for the holidays. Truly, it’s lovely. Go get it.
In other news, I have been pulling myself up by the bootstraps a bit as I dig back into colder weather and grayer days. I look back at older work to see where newer work might come from. My friend Rima Staines posted online a week or so ago a weeklong set of prompts for “Folk Tale Week” and at the last minute, I decided to play along.
It was good for my mood. Here they are….. (but to read my reasoning behind choosing these particular images for these specific prompts, go to my instagram page.)
It really was fun to re-visit some of my older drawings, and fun to feel inspired to make a couple of new ones as well. New ideas are a funny thing. We need the space and time in which to create them, and in a busy modern world, finding that is a feat in and of itself. But we must also seed new work with perhaps pieces of our own old ideas, or maybe some new things from people and things that inspire us. and so, we strive for balance.
This balance is always up for scrutiny, at least for me. Too much time alone with my own thoughts can be dangerous. Too little, is equally or perhaps more so. But I keep wandering the artful path. Trusting that time spent playing my flute or learning new things on the pipes is time well spent (let’s face it, no money is being made and in this modern age, that can seem like a waste of time!!).
In pipes class the other day we were lamenting the piping path, fraught with peril. And a new idea occurred to me of a series that might happen showcasing a newish piper, a Badger perhaps, clumsily finding his own way along the road to piperhood. And so I may have a new friend. He may look a bit like the fella singing in the album cover above…. John Joe? is that you?
More soon on all of it. In the meantime, treat yourself to the quiet beauty of Finn’s new album. It’s gorgeous. And for once, I am excited to put on Christmas music.
This morning, just after my first cup of coffee, an autumnal sonic assault begins. A murderous whirring of epic proportions.
The gas powered leaf blower.
It is nigh impossible to think for oneself amidst the din of modernity, particularly in suburbia, where the moving of leaves around seems to point to some sort of status.
I wonder, what we might hear if we were afforded an opportunity to listen deeper. To listen to the miniscule preparations being made by the smallest of creatures….
Roll, roll, grumble, grumble, roll…
The sounds of a gathering of food stuffs for the winter season. Acorns, walnuts.
Crack, snap, crack, crack, stack…..
Further gathering and arranging of sticks and wood and kindling with which to warm ourselves in the months to come. Even the smallest of fallen twigs might be of use.
Perhaps we hear the click, click, click of knitting needles working woolens into garments for bracing against autumnal winds…..
Maybe we hear the gentle felling of ripened fungi in the forest, so that they might be dried and saved for soup making.
What sorts of sounds do you listen for when the leaf blowers finally run out of gasoline? How can we better listen to the quietude offered to us by the smallest of woodland creatures? How might we better listen to ourselves?
” I sat down on the bank above the beach where I had a splendid view all around me. Dead indeed is the heart from which the balmy air of the sea cannot banish sorrow and grief.”
We are more than a week home to Ohio now. In this time we have run the gamut of human emotions. Grief over the loss of and funeral for Tony’s mom, love and glee at reconnecting with far flung family at said funeral, relief at being in one’s own bed and living space, awe at the turning of the season, as autumn in Ohio carries its own special splendor. Overwhelm at the return to the reality of regular responsibility.
So often the case, I find my soul lagging behind my body after a trip of such magnitude and so part of my mind’s eye is still fixed on the magical hills and cliffs and windswept beaches of western Ireland. But I am more fortunate than most who return to the US from a trip to the Emerald Isle. I have music.
I shall start with that.
Irish music has been in my life for a good while now. Beginning with my son taking on the challenges of the fiddle, which led not only to his life’s work as a musician but also to me forging my own brambled path via whistle, flute and eventually (gods willing and the creek don’t rise) the Uillean pipes. To say this music is a gift in my life would be a vast understatement. Everywhere we laid our weary heads whilst in Ireland had something to do with the music.
Our friends in Blackrock, Co. Louth are both musicians. Through their work over the years, they have come to know many influential people in the relatively small world of traditional Irish music. And this is how I came to find myself treated to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of a private lesson with a legend.
Seamus Tansey is a force to be reckoned with. His playing carries the wild, untamed side of Irish flute music and his mercurial personality matches this fierceness. He’s a character not to be crossed, from everything I have ever heard about him. And yet, because I came connected to someone he holds in high regard, I think he took a shine to me. Our lesson was mostly me being stunned at the musical gymnastics he was asking for and him being patient with my inabilities. There is nothing more humbling than this music and I have so much to learn, it’s true. Perhaps this lesson with a legend would have been better spent on one besides myself, one with more knowing of the intricacies of this tradition. But when one gets this opportunity laid in front of them, one must say, “I accept.” I am grateful to Seamus and his lovely wife Joan for their gracious hospitality, to Simone and Sean for shuttling me to Northern Ireland for this opportunity and to Lillie whom I took to the airport hotel in Dublin far earlier than maybe suited her so that I could get to Belfast in time for all this. Life is rich indeed, and we all do things to build each other up, do we not?
One of my favorite evenings of this trip was of a night in a Kerry kitchen, trading very local tunes with my friend Michael, a lovely box player who is a bit too shy to play at the sessions but who has loads to share. Another favorite memory is that of an open session in a little pub in Dingle called Neligan’s. Another box player called Michael, along with a few other lovely players and another lovely night of tunes indeed. A shout out to publican Dara who makes all feel welcome and at home in his pub. Thanks for the encouragement to come along and play! (We shall catch up to ourselves in Dingle shortly here in this writing…..)
Dingle is quite the touristy place really. I can only imagine the throngs during the season. But I think of this music as a bit of a back stage pass. Knowing a few tunes and humbly sitting in (only when invited, of course) at a local session can mean that the local musicians might stick around for a chat after the tunes. And just like that, one makes a new friend or two.
Thankfully for Tony, all was not incessantly musical. There was much touring to be done in our short time in Ireland. I was keen to hook him on this country I hold so dear with the hopes of luring him back once again. I will be there next year for a whole month of course and I hope for him to tag along for a bit of November perhaps….. we shall see.
We took in the windswept Cliffs of Moher where there was not only natural splendor…..
But the splendor of quirky humanity as well which made my heart swell. There was an intrepid couple from away, maybe Portugal or Italy (difficult to hear with the wind blowing) who were keen to get some iconic wedding photos made….
Her veil blew in the wind and the rains did fall. Everyone seemed to be good sports about it all.
Others got in on the fun and had their own impromptu wedding shoots….
It was one of those rare, feel good moments when one feels a part of things and good to be a human. These kids might have been from Germany (again, so hard to hear with the wind as it was). But strangely, all seemed right with the world for the moment.
Eventually, the next day, as you know, saw us headed further south, further west to the Dingle Peninsula, “Corca Dhuibhne”. We soldiered on through rain and fog and down impossibly small roads which found us over impossibly foggy mountains. The skies did clear and Dingle did cast her spell eventually and we found the music there that night at Neligan’s. Sadly we barely had 24 hours to explore this amazing peninsula, but we took in what we could.
All around there was a feeling of being in an “other” world, of being blessed by those who exist in a greater beyond. Things seem chancey and strange here.
“Then I went to Ireland. The conversation of those ragged peasants, as soon as I learnt to follow it, electrified me. It was as though Homer had come alive. Its vitality was inexhaustible, yet it was rhythmical, alliterative, formal, artificial, always on the point of bursting into poetry.”
~George Thomson, The Prehistoric Aegean
Language, in English as well as Irish piles up like stones. Every nook and cranny, every stream and small strand has a name.
The sheer breadth and depth of such a small place is difficult to capture and express. It is said that Ireland is the size of our Indiana. And yet, it carries aeons of legends and myths, tales of wonder and woe. It would take a life time to learn and unpack it all.
We start with small words, easy to learn. Familiar concepts.
Creatures we know we love already.
Perhaps through painting the sights we see, learning the tunes which waft through the air, and engaging in a word or two of Irish here and there, we might find our way to being accepted by this land I feel so drawn to. I am keen to spend more time in Ireland.
I like the idea of being able to walk to the sea, and to the local bookstore, and the local pub, which might not only feature a warming bevvie, but also a nice cup of soup on an evening I don’t feel the urge to cook.
I actually don’t even mind the backward driving….
I love the constant presence of ravens and crows (kind of like in New Mexico).
But alas, here I am, now, in Ohio. And I do not grieve this. I have an amazing inlet and outlet for music via the Riley School, I have a wonderful community of fellow artists. We have a patch of land where I am about to go set some garlic in for the winter and batten down the hatches against the squirrels. Life is good wherever we are.
But I am glad to know of a few places, one especially, which make my heart sing. Most folks might go a whole lifetime and not find this. For this I am grateful.
We are returned to Ohio. Our journey to Ireland, at an end for the time being, we sift through laundry, piles of post, lists of things we ought to be doing to return us to “real life” and “normality”. Yet, these notions are unreal in themselves, for every journey changes us, and this one especially. I will write of a lovely day spent by the sea admiring the magic of moving water and sky, and of meeting musical legends large and small along the way. I will even write of the enchanting spell the west of County Kerry might cast. For there is so much more to tell you…..
But for now, we are on the cusp of Samhain and the veil between life and death is thin. Especially for our family. You see, while we were away in Ireland, my mother-in-law passed away peacefully. My husband had arrived with news that hospice services had been engaged for her and that her time was nigh, though no one knew just how long she might linger with us. In the long run it was all sooner than we had expected, but isn’t that the way of things? We are never ready, even if we have prepared for an age. He had just seen her days before leaving to meet me, and I had visited her just days before leaving for Ireland myself a few weeks prior. I am glad I made the time.
We were now so far from home, and there was some flurried discussion of shifting flight plans and making our way back to Ohio sooner than later. We opted out of this change and chose to sit with all of it for our few remaining days of travel in Ireland.
Ireland is a place of great depth. Depth in the beauty of its landscape. Depth of history and story. It is actually a rather appropriate place to consider the loss of a loved one.
One can’t move in Ireland for the archeological treasures to be found dotting the landscape. We visited many in the coming days. Newgrange being the first. It is a “passage tomb”, thought to be a place of ritual and ceremony.
It contained the remains of ancient ones, known now only to the mists of time before written history.
Ancient people built these great structures to be in tune with the heavens. They were at one with the seasons and the turning of the wheel of the year. Newgrange is known for bringing the sun into the deepest part of the inner sanctum of the tomb at the winter solstice. One can only imagine the level of engineering prowess this must have taken.
Their care in collection of materials from around the country, and the artful manipulation of stones and designs must have taken them generations.
Amidst the day to day tending to the feeding and sheltering of themselves, these people still took the time and effort to create these tombs honoring the passage of loved ones to another realm. Death was important to them.
It is said that the Celtic peoples of old had great esteem for the concept of death as an inherent part of life. That they honored this concept in how they thought about the cycles of the year, and their own place in it as mortal beings.
It is said that while the Celtic people of the ancient times must have certainly grieved the loss of their loved ones when they passed away, for they were only human after all, it was all understood to be The Way Of Things. The many passage tombs we were to encounter in subsequent days honors this idea and I found it all strangely comforting.
There is something about this time of year that offers us a chance to consider our own place in The Way Of Things and to remind us that we are only here but a short while in the vast depths of time.
It is crucial that we make the best of our time here. To strive to be the best incarnation of spirit we can be, to offer that back to whatever great power put us here in the first place. We cannot know the intentions of the cosmos.
Knowth, in the same general vicinity as Newgrange, was the next stop on the day we learned of Tony’s mom’s death. Our eyes danced with dizziness at the spirals spied on so much stone and at the great vastness of scale the many passage tombs provided.
Stones were to be a constant theme in the days to come as we traversed the country and took in all we could in the days we had left. I put the work of writing and painting aside and simply experienced it all with Tony, which felt like the right thing to do.
We left the east part of Ireland to head west toward the Burren, a place I was keen to see this time around.
It is a magical moonscape of sorts. Many of the roads are mere cow tracks or bóthairín and I found myself holding my breath as we occasionally met another car traveling in the opposite direction. We made our way to Poulnabrone Dolmen which is considered a “portal tomb”, which was also a means of honoring the dead. The murky, misty weather intensified the mysterious feel of the place and we fell in love with it all immediately. It was in keeping with the depth of how we felt about everything going on and seemed to be an appropriate way to spend some of our time in Ireland, considering the circumstances.
Barren though it all seemed at surface level, there was life everywhere in the cracks and crevices of stone.
On route to the Cliffs of Moher on this day, we spied the ruins of an old church. Less ancient than the pre-historic sites we’d been visiting. We parked for a look at the place. It was no less enchanting for its relative modernity.
Once again we were struck with the connectivity of life to death in this place. Graves upon graves, old and new, just next to a place where cows graze and birds flit about. There is a peace to it all.
Later that evening we spent an enjoyable and delicious meal with dear friends in Ennis. I read stories to the kids while the grown ups shared wine and cooked. There was fresh baked bread which was divine. There was time to laugh and converse and sing a bit together. It was ultimately quite healing.
There is so much more to tell of our brief time together in Ireland, and I will weave that part of the tale into this broader story on another day. I will tell of how we left Ennis far too quickly to catch the ferry back once more to my beloved County Kerry, and how we dodged raindrops to play amidst sea and sky along the Dingle peninsula where we could. And how we eventually made our way back east once more again to fly home.
Once more through the mists….
And here we are, on a gray, autumnal Ohio day. Sifting through old photos of Patricia Lynn Musick. Pat is someone who had the strength of stone and steel in her very bones. She raised my Tony and his brothers on her own with nerve that saw her through many trials in her lifetime. By the time I came to the family, she had found her first love from teen years and had married him and cared for him through his life time of health problems. She used to be a beautician and so would perm my hair for me when it was fashionable at the time, but way out of my budget. She was fierce, whether playing cards or caring for her home or working the many jobs she held to keep things together. She was proud and had a sarcastic sense of humor. She loved her grandkids and they loved her. We now have her last dog, Charlie, who needed a bit more care than Pat could give her as her own health further declined. We took her often for visits which I think Pat appreciated.
I dedicate this post to the mother of my beloved.
Pat, go bhféadfainn Dia do bhealach a lasadh. May God light your way.
Today my Kerry companions and I head north on a little road trip to Ennis in Co. Clare, endlessly chasing the music. There is a gig to attend by a friend who makes this music professionally and a session in the works up the road after the concert. And so, this day will be a traveling day.
I know I am not painting “enough” in recent days but writing feels like the art this week. Gathering imagery and words. Following the threads of inspiration. This is “enough”. Whatever that means.
As I left this space in my last post, I was off to don wellies and wander up the road with my hosts here to visit a bit of bog land that has been a part of their family and culture for generations. The bog road goes well off the Ballybunion road and so traffic, if any, is light, and consists of other walkers and wanderers seeking a bit of quiet time in Nature.
We dodge raindrops and keep an eye on the horizon for rainbows. Of course there are rainbows.
The bog is quiet with only the sound of the breeze, the rain falling, bird song and a an occasional gentle mooing of a far off cow.
Bogs are natural wonderlands, filled with all kinds of flora and fauna for those with eyes to see. Ferns and heather, native grasses and mosses. It is a lovely place to behold.
The silence of the bog is infectious and exactly what I have been craving. I find it interesting that this segment of Brain Pickings is about silence and it comes across my digital path this morning as I build a little blog post before hitting the winding road to Clare.
This bog is a working bog and local folks have utilized the turf to heat their homes and light their hearths for years. This is all now up for discussion nowadays as bog turf holds a great deal of carbon. My companions are gentle stewards of this patch of bog as well as of the land which holds their cottage and grows much of their food. They know this place well and appreciate its limitations. I for one hope that a least a bit of turf can be burned here and there in future as the smell is divine.
After the bog walk, we return to the cottage for a cup of tea and a game of fetch with Pancake, a lovely pup indeed.
I am treated to a bite to eat and evening descends upon us. Tea turns to wine, conversation turns to tunes, just myself and Michael – flute and accordion – and I hear slides and marches which are new to my ears. They are local to this place and I wish for them to be collected and played back home, to celebrate this beautiful quiet patch of Kerry. Mike and I talk about how the old tunes are really the best tunes. Flash and musical prowess are lovely to behold, but there is something so rich and lovely about a few solid tunes in the kitchen with a local farmer. I am blessed beyond belief.
Later I return home, my head fairly swimming with music (*finally!*) and I am reminded of the date. It is the anniversary of the death of one of my best and most influential friends of this life time – Mia. If she could see where life has taken me, she would beam, I am sure. When she was ever so ill, I had just begun on the whistle – awkward and shy about it. But she insisted I play what I knew for her and so I did. She laughed and clapped in delight and told me never to stop playing. I haven’t. I miss Mia on a regular basis and think that perhaps the magic of this special day, from pre-dawn beach time, to a bog-walk under a watery sun and into the evening with new tunes and dear friends may have just been a blessing from the beyond. I am deeply grateful.
Ballybunion is a bustling seaside town in the summer, but it quiets down quite a bit in the ‘off season’, as many of the best places do. There is a sweet sign in the park which overlooks the ocean, reminding us not to take ourselves so seriously, something time spent at the beach can often do.
Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round, or listened to rain slapping the ground?
Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight, or gazed at the sun fading into the night?
You better slow down, don’t dance so fast, time is short, the music won’t last.
Do you run through each day on the fly, when you ask “How are you?” do you hear the reply?
When the day is done, do you lie in your bed, with the next hundred chores running through your head?
You better slow down, don’t dance so fast, time is short, the music won’t last.
Ever told your child, we’ll do it tomorrow and in your haste, not see his sorrow?
Ever lost touch, let a friendship die, cause you never had time to call and say hi?
You better slow down, don’t dance so fast, time is short, the music won’t last.
When you run so fast to get somewhere, you miss half the fun of getting there.
When you worry and hurry through your day, it’s like an unopened gift thrown away.
Life isn’t a race, so take it slower, hear the music before the song is over.
David L. Weatherford
There is nothing like the sea and time spent near it to calm the inner storms and frustrations which plague. Yesterday my companions and I drove out to Ballybunion and braved a bit of rain and wind to take in the fresh sea air. We were not disappointed.
After a lovely, misty wander up and down the beach, we walked back up to the village and warmed up by the fire with Guinness and Wine for some, tea for me. I am quite proud that I can drive here in Ireland and have thus far done fairly well.
This morning I opted to steal away before dawn for a few more source photos and merely more time by the sea. If I lived just 10 km down the road from this place, might be found there almost daily.
It rained nearly all the way from Listowel to Ballybunion but the clouds did eventually part and I was treated to a magnificent morning indeed.
As I walked and took pictures, I swept the beach for bits of plastic I might be able to pick up. There was more than I’d hoped for, but all in all it is such a clean beach. Still, we must do better.
There is such a sense of history layered upon history here in Ireland and there is no escaping it. There is the Renaissance era Ballybunion castle ruins which are so iconic, and the old escape hatches sometimes found niched into the cliffs that some say may have predated the castle and began in the Iron Age as food storage cellars. It’s fascinating! And I realize, we are only temporary.
Nature will, eventually, take everything back.
There shall be more here, but for now I must find my woolen socks and ready my camera as I am due to be picked up for a visit to the bog with our hosts here in Listowel. Taking in all I can, while I can.
ps, I am told that the way the woman in this video lives is very much like how my friends here grew up in the very cottage we stay in now, which has been updated with a few modern amenities…..