Happy Septembering!

September lies before us as a blank canvas.

A4

Let’s seize every opportunity to make this a month to remember for all the right reasons.

New Horizons at Annestown Beach, Co. Waterford

New Horizons at Annestown Beach, Co. Waterford

Let’s recognise the power of connection and togetherness.

Togetherness

Connection and Togetherness

This is a month that can glisten with creativity, peace and inspiration.

Glistening Annestown Beach, Co. Waterford

Glistening Annestown Beach, Co. Waterford

Happy Septembering, dear Blogging Friends!

Posted in Blogging, Connection, Nature | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Dawnings

Woodstown Beach, Co. Waterford

Woodstown Beach, Co. Waterford

Peace reigned at Woodstown Beach when I made my way out there very early yesterday morning. It was in stark contrast to the tossing and turning that had marked my attempts to sleep.

The end of August has always made me a bit uneasy as I feel I should be getting all organised and setting goals for the remaining months of the year.  No doubt, this is sparked by all those years of returning to school with newly sharpened pencils and blank copybooks as September loomed.

I’m now beginning to wonder how sensible it is to set goals and targets just because we are facing into Autumn and Winter. Is that a good enough reason to be doing such a thing? Or should we wait for the goals, or whatever one likes to call them, to gently ease their way into our minds and imaginations, in the undramatic, yet inspiring way, that the day opened up over Woodstown Beach before my sleepy eyes yesterday?

The very word ‘goal’ makes me think of games like hurling, hockey and soccer where the roles of both ‘strikers’ and ‘goalkeepers’ are key. We applaud the great goals but we also applaud the great saves.

As I sauntered along the beach, it dawned on me that there is a lot to be said for living in a space where both goal-making and goal-keeping can co-exist.

The nature of this space is peaceful, creative, interactive, vibrant, inspiring …..

How are you viewing the dawning of Autumn and Winter? 

Posted in Creativity and Connection | Tagged , , , | 16 Comments

Seamus Heaney Remembered with Love

Today marks the second anniversary of the death of Irish poet, Seamus Heaney, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995.

Seamus Heaney Image: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Seamus Heaney
Image: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Seamus Heaney’s poetry, as regular readers will know, has been very dear to my heart, especially since I heard him read at the Kikenny Arts Festival in August 2009, just weeks after my mother’s death and at a time when my father was very frail indeed.

Heaney’s work is wide-ranging in terms of theme but, for me, his writings about his family, particularly his late parents, resonate very strongly and never fail to bring solace.

Last night, I was perusing the various volumes of his work that have their home on my desk beside the computer and found myself returning over and over to what I suspect may be his shortest poem of all.

The Strand

The dotted line my father’s ashplant made

On Sandymount Strand

Is something else the tide won’t wash away.

(Seamus Heaney, Opened Ground: Poems 1966-1996Faber and Faber)

The tide has ebbed and flowed rhythmically over the last two years and it certainly hasn’t washed away any of the lines crafted by Seamus Heaney. If anything, it has brought more and more of them up onto the shores of new waves of poetry lovers from all across the world.

Posted in Losing Elderly Parents, Poetry, Seamus Heaney | Tagged , , , | 21 Comments

Heartfelt

Heart

the most tender hearts

light up our darkest pathways

with silver sunbeams

Posted in Connections, Poetry | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Climbing Co. Waterford

When son, Harry (now 20), suggests an impromtu excursion, I’m never able to resist. There’s always that little voice inside me that says: Make the most of the time that we can share.  I also know, from experience, that these outings bring me to wild and wonderful places.

Yesterday, it was a trip up the glaciated Comeragh Mountains here in Co. Waterford to see one of the many lakes that shimmer majestically up there. Our destination, I was informed, was Coumshingaun Lake.

Heathery Climb with the Co. Waterford Coastline in the Distance

Heathery Climb with the Co. Waterford Coastline in the Distance

The air grew purer and purer as we climbed and, as my heart pounded, I envied the sure-footed fitness and balance of the curious sheep:

Natural Habitat!

Natural Habitat!

Just as we seemed to be reaching some kind of summit, dark clouds came sweeping round the mountains followed by ‘relief rain’ that hopped out of the mists of boring geography classes in the early 1970s.

There was sublime compensation for the total knicker-through drenching with the magical appearance of a rainbow bridging what seemed like the whole of Co. Waterford:

The Perfect Rainbow

The Perfect Rainbow

As we made our way up the mountain, I couldn’t but think of the song ‘The Climb,’ sung by Joe McElderry, which Harry and I often play in the car and which both of us have long found inspirational:

We stood in awe as Coumshingaun Lake came into sight beneath us and, yes, we agreed that  we would  come back soon and climb higher and higher so that we would get to see its wonder from all angles.

Counmshingaun Lake, Co. Waterford

Coumshingaun Lake, Co. Waterford

Posted in Co. Waterford, Connections, Ireland, Nature | Tagged , , , , , | 29 Comments

Another Side of Sunset

Tramore Beach, Co. Waterford

Tramore Beach, Co. Waterford

The sun was breathing its last over Tramore Beach when I took this photograph a few nights ago. All eyes seemed to be focussed on the golden hues that were embroidering the sea as it gleamed under the watchful eye of Tramore town up on the hill.

But somehow I couldn’t keep my gaze off this little boy with his back to all that. He reminded me of all the evenings that I have sought to eke the very last drop out of days spent at the beach, especially as Summer holidays draw to a close and school looms on the horizon.

He personified the craving for freedom that has always been part of my very being. Oblivious to, or delighting in, the waves soaking his bright red, flapping coat, he played in the waves and then stood still in what seemed like a moment of  lingering oneness with a place where he had found peace, happiness and hope.

I’ve known those moments; they are what sustain me through the storms of life.  Memories carved in sands with the sea absorbing the layers of emotion;  a treasure trove of memories in a shell box that houses those secret securities that we all need.

Posted in Connections, Nature, Tramore Co. Waterford | Tagged , , | 16 Comments

Phunning Light

It’s almost two weeks now since I embarked on my quest to get back to running. As you may recall, I’ve designated my approach as Phunning ~ a combination of gentle running and taking a few photographs along the way.

I’m delighted to report that I’ve now had six outings to The Anne Valley Trail in Dunhill and that it seems to be getting shorter by the day.

Yesterday was one of those stressful days with a few fork-in-the-road kind of appointments so I tore out of the house early this morning to find the calm that phunning is now bringing with each stride.

There was a lovely soft light and I found myself doing a lot more running than walking. Among the biggest changes since that first day is that I’ve now stopped counting paces and am letting my body dictate when it wants to stop for for a breather.

Reflections

Reflections

I’ve also reached a point where I’m less likely to stop running just because I see people coming towards me. It’s nice, though, to stop and have a little chat with fellow travellers, like this friendly man this morning:

Anne Valley Trail, Dunhill, Co. Waterford

Anne Valley Trail, Dunhill, Co. Waterford

Dunhill Castle overlooks the Anne Valley Trail and I can’t seem to resist going up there to soak in the history, scenery and tranquility:

Dunhill Castle, Co. Waterford.

Dunhill Castle, Co. Waterford.

It’s fascinating to think that the sea used to come in as far as the Castle and this morning there was a real sense of sea as the wind was coming from that direction and I could hear the waves back the mile and a half or so:

View towards Annestown Beach from Dunhill Castle

View towards Annestown Beach from Dunhill Castle

Within the ruins of the Castle itself, the light danced on the old, thick walls:

Dunhill Castle, Co. Waterford

Dunhill Castle, Co. Waterford

This new exercise regime requires plenty of healthy eating:

Refreshment

Refreshment

There’s no doubt that blogging about Phunning is adding greatly to the experience and I got a great giggle from Roy’s reference to ‘Phogging’ in his latest post and Robin’s comment about ‘Phalking’ in response to my first post on this new madness.

I hope, dear Readers, that you’ll come up with some more thought-provoking words to keep me motivated over the coming weeks!

Posted in Blogging, Co. Waterford, Irish Castles, Nature, Stepping Out | Tagged , , , , , , , | 31 Comments