I’m well aware that there is a strong movement away from going to the well of our memories in favour of striving to ‘live in the moment.’
While I’m all for living in the moment, I feel that our present moments are often framed by our pasts and I love nothing more than to bring my bucket to the deep well that lives in my heart and let it pull up a fine glass of memories that were made years ago.
The end of September is always a nostalgic time and it’s interesting that it is the first month of the year that carries with it the word, ‘mber’ that so often starts conversations about the old days. ‘mber the time …?’
Well, the memories that are with me tonight are walking trips that Dad used to bring me (or one of the others) on. I’m talking 1970s and he was a big, strong, fit man for whom walking meant striding out for maybe twenty miles before lunch!
The walking trips were to wild places and a couple of cameras were always part of his luggage, as well as clean white cotton hankies, a strong black umbrella and his toothbrush. He was ever so careful, even vain, about his teeth in spite of being addicted to all things sugar.
The September song that brings me back to those times is this one sung by Nana Mouskouri, who I was fortunate enough to hear in concert in Dublin around 1975.
In September 1974, Dad and I went on a walking trip to his native Co. Clare ~ the place he loved more than anywhere in the whole world. Back then, the Cliffs of Moher hadn’t been commercialised and were wilder than wild. Dad must have taken thousands of photos of the The Cliffs during his lifetime and this is one that he took during our visit that year:
It was on those expeditions that I got to know about my father’s youth and heard lots of stories about how it was to grow up in the West of Ireland in the 1920s and 30s. I’m so glad now that we had those shared times as they give me a sense of my background too. They also make me smile as I think of his urgings to ‘step on it’ if he caught sight of a black cloud heading our way! For me, ‘stepping on it’ meant jogging along beside him as his stride lengthened and lengthened …