Wisdom of rocks

Thinking of miracles I always imagine something surrounded by fireworks and colors, song and light. But then I remember that it’s in the dark that seeds get their strength to become trees, dreams get their wings to carry us to the highest of ourselves.

So I approach The Old Man and The Sea, one of my favorite spots on the northwest coast of Donegal, on the Wild Atlantic Way.

Old man and the sea

In this land of quiet miracles, I try to learn some of the wisdom of the rocks, discover some of the majesty that makes a rock – like a Romanian poet once said, by never crushing the world’s crown of wonders but understanding it by adding to its secret, by filling it with love…

Soft rocks

Eu nu strivesc corola de minuni a lumii

by Lucian Blaga

Eu nu strivesc corola de minuni a lumii

şi nu ucid

cu mintea tainele, ce le-ntâlnesc

în calea mea

în flori, în ochi, pe buze ori morminte.

Lumina altora

sugrumă vraja nepătrunsului ascuns

în adâncimi de întuneric,

dar eu,

eu cu lumina mea sporesc a lumii taină –

şi-ntocmai cum cu razele ei albe luna

nu micşorează, ci tremurătoare

măreşte şi mai tare taina nopţii,

aşa îmbogăţesc şi eu întunecata zare

cu largi fiori de sfânt mister

şi tot ce-i neînţeles

se schimbă-n neînţelesuri şi mai mari

sub ochii mei-

căci eu iubesc

şi flori şi ochi şi buze şi morminte.

… is life ever in black and white, or only shades of grey?

Shades of grey

… how comes the simple act of mirroring can show you a whole different world?

Mirroring

… how can I really open my eyes to not just see?

Getting close

… if I understand rocks, will I ever understand fear?

Ancestors' memories

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Spring at our feet, but we step on it

I live by the sea. I also live nearby an enchanted forest that sings to me every day.
They say that the first people who inhabited Donegal, the Tuatha de Danann, were of the elf kind. And they say that elves sang to the trees and flowers and turned them into homes. That’s how strong their connection with nature was.

spring 1

Donegal still retains such magical places, like Ballyconnell House, hidden away, ignored and left to the past, but coming alive once you take the time to wander through its ancient grounds, listen to the wind combing through the branches of the old trees and lean down to smell the flowers at your feet.

spring 2Built in the 1600s by a Dutch family, the house was once a house of song, hosting a fantastic Irish music school, which closed almost ten years ago “from lack of funding.”

spring 5But the grounds are still enjoyed not only by walkers, nature lovers but also by the local Cloughaneely Golf Club. And was the site of a fabulous ‘Evil Eye Festival’ (Féile na Súile Nimhe) organised by Kathleen Gallagher and her devoted team.

spring 3Recent news that it may be closed to the public to be turned into a Catholic-church run drug addiction clinic, with hundreds of thousand of euro of public money poured into it, made me ponder – how different we are from the ancestors of this land and how much we have changed… that we cannot see the flowers we have and let anyone come and stamp on them…how we don’t value what our forbearers left us and allow even the most innocent of joys to be taken away little by little…

spring 4I smell the scent of these tiny flowers now, as come next Spring, they might be locked up inside another “wall of authority.”

One of the biggest mistakes the Communist regime I grew up in made was to destroy what the previous regime had built instead of seeing its value and develop it.

spring 6Years later, here in Donegal, I’m experiencing deja-vu… and I don’t wonder anymore why the young and beautiful are leaving this lovely place. But I do wonder who will be left wondering where have all the flowers gone…

Life

One must be extremely strong in mind and spirit to survive more than a year in Donegal. I don’t even know why I say that, it just came to me as I am listening to Mary, Martin and Michael playing in Teac Jack. There is Michael’s humor combined with Mary’s gentle but powerful fiddle and Martin’s quiet, melancholic pipes. And it’s Donegal in its essence, it captures you, it makes you feel you are the happiest being on earth and in the same time, its strength makes you suffer.
It’s the kind of suffering born from pure happiness, that “too much feeling”. You suddenly yearn for the banality of a city life, where you know you are being diminished and your spirit has left you and, you long for being back in Donegal again.
Mary continues to speak through her fiddle and I can’ believe I’m still in this fairy tale world. I can see and hear people from the “real world” around me, in the bar.
It’s funny because they seem to be so immune to the music, as if only a few of us can see and hear the musicians. As if two parallel worlds are being displayed in front of me.

Alien
And there are actually three parallel worlds, as musicians seem to be in that trance they go into, and we, the “privileged ones,” get to peep through the door.
But it’s too hard to get in.
One must be very strong to survive more than a year in Donegal. To cope with moments when people either go back to the real world, as their holiday is over, or others go into this trance, which is music, and it’s as if they are totally gone, leaving behind a sound, a smile and closed eyes.
Minutes later, both doors close suddenly and I’m not fast and good enough to dash through any of them.

bark
Will I have enough spirit to wait until they open again?
From the haunting memory of a revived tune, by an old man living in the mountains to “I shot the sheriff” played on guitar and pipes, to hop gigs and rhythms… Why do I feel that life has just said hello and looked me straight in the eyes?

Genesis

Morning

I don’t want to be buried.

I could not bear to listen to the pipes go quiet and the words, spoken and unspoken, grow farther and farther away. I could not bear feel closer and closer to that silence that only earth can offer.

Morning over MuckishI hear them talking about the beautiful day it was when I died and I remember how I used to take them for granted, how I never looked up to the sky long enough to see it, how I did not open my eyes to let all the light in, to fill me, so I can switch it on now, when I need it most.

That’s why I need the power of fire all around me, to feel I am one with the light. And seep slowly, with the rain, into the silence of the earth.

Road across foreverOn a beautiful sunny day in Donegal, pipes were heard on Cnoc Fola. They lifted the soul up, beyond Bloody Foreland, beyond Erigal and Muckish and beyond Tory Island.

Red skyI never met him, I did not even know his name, but my tears just burst out of me when I suddenly felt one with all those souls – the mourning and the mourned ones, in the same time.

They say we must befriend death. I say we must feel one with death to get a grasp of how much alive we are, how there is only one heart beating and it suffers, we know, even if we admit that or not.

Cold morning