It’s 6am here in Oughterard, County Galway. The sun has yet to rise. The garden is shrouded in darkness, just a few shadows cast by the street lights. The fir tree at the end of the garden stands proudly – an etching of bold black strokes. The artist has been busy while I slept. The stillness of the night is still with us. I revel in this silence before the dawn, precious moments of meditation when I feel at one with nature.
MY HEART IS OVERSEAS
Right now, my thoughts are with my children and grandchildren overseas. The sun has already risen in Cape Town as they all prepare for their day at school and at work. Whilst we are coming to the end of Autumn in Ireland, it’s Springtime in Cape Town. Whilst we complain about electricity price increases, they also have price increases and have to accept four to six hours daily of load-shedding – no electricity. Whilst we watch our plants die or fade away – they are surrounded by new growth, and one hopes new resolutions made by the politicians for a better South African future.
The sun has set in Scottsdale, in Arizona. My family are relaxing after their working day. Although it’s Autumn, or Fall as it’s called in the USA, the temperature will be an average of 25 degrees Celsius compared to our Irish 12 degrees, and like every country in the world, price increases in food and fuel and all amenities are now the norm. Regardless, the seasons change annually, the world still spins on its axis.
In these moments of solitude, divided by vast oceans I miss my family and friends, wishing I could share the break of dawn with them every day. I look up at the sky and smile at the first streak of light. I will sit here a while on my doorstep and listen to the chorus of my feathered friends. The swallows have already migrated to Africa, but I welcome the winter thrushes who feast in my garden.
Many of the flowers have died, but a few still bloom in the undergrowth reminding me that they will be in full bloom again come Spring – a renewal of life.
FORTY SHADES OF GREEN
Usually, the bus journey from the village of Oughterard to Galway City takes forty five minutes. Recently, due to road works and heavy traffic this has increased to one and a half hours. Trying not to be impatient, knowing I’ll be late for an appointment is not easy. I inhale deeply and then exhale, turning to gaze out the window and focus on the landscape.
Autumn may be here, but many of the trees are still dressed in their vivid green ball gowns. It’s a celebration of the present and the future, a reminder to us to take time and meander through life, take joy in what we have now.
All the vegetation and fields boast forty shades of green, fields that sweep down to the road, shadows cast by the tall trees make this landscape an artist’s dream. The occasional bloom of flowers peeps shyly in between and most of the shrubbery outside people’s homes is still in bloom.
CONNEMARA STONE WALLS
Green field after green field passes by in slow motion, each with a story to tell, past and present. The fields aren’t symmetrical. They follow the flow of the landscape in dips and hills, some showing the ridges of tractor tyres; others untouched and still in full growth. The fields are separated by old stone walls, walls built by craftsmen many many years ago without the aid of concrete, a jigsaw puzzle of different shaped rocks that fit together perfectly. If only humans had the same ability.
OLD AND NEW
Many old stone cottages recline against this landscape, now empty and dilapidated, the voices of the people who lived there are just a whisper on the wind. Grand two-storey farm houses sit comfortably in this landscape, surrounded by sheds to store the turf and machinery. There are no donkeys and carts waiting to go to the bog or to the market.
More modern two-storey houses ape the style of the old albeit with large window panes to ‘bring the outside in’, allowing the families who live there to feel a part of this beautiful land. Bungalows nestle in glens whilst some are built higher up on the gentle sloping hills. SUVS are parked outside seeming ill at ease with the tractors. Some gardens have hedges trimmed into submission, but come Spring they will unravel and release themselves from this conformity. Seasons change. Our lives change. Seasons renew.
LIFE GOES ON
Every year I’m fascinated by this dichotomy, more so this year as lives are lost in the Ukraine, and in many other places of the world. Our lives continue as normal here in the West of Ireland. We adapt to every new season, enjoy the waxing and waning of the moon and the tides that ebb and flow onto our shores.
Yesterday, Richard was talking to a friend in the Ukraine.
She said: “You know what’s keeping me alive? It’s my mind, my thinking.”
In Ireland, the Angelus bells toll at midday and at 6pm – 6 sets of eighteen peals calling us to prayer, to embrace a few moments of silence. I bow my head in silence.
It is now time for me to rest,
To close my eyes,
Still my mind
And reach out
I will sit quietly
At your feet,
And all that I ask of You
Is that I can be there,
Close to You,
Totally at peace,
A part of You.
It is now time for me to rest,
And I sleep unencumbered,
Clothed in God’s Love.
No matter what religion you practise or not, tuning out from our frenetic lives is essential. Tuning into one’s inner core or the universe will help us to keep balance in our lives. Remember what your higher purpose is and live accordingly.
May peace be with you now and forever.
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I have written two novels available on Amazon