Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I will meet you there.
These words from the 13th Century Persian philosopher and poet, Rumi, never stray far from my mind. Recently, when walking along the cliffs in Ballycotton, Co. Cork, I couldn’t take my eyes off a little field in the distance and, for me, I think it will always be Rumi’s field.
I got to thinking that once there is willingness within people of very different persuasions on whatever the subject ~ be it international conflict or interpersonal dispute ~ to hear each other out and seek resolution, the space required is actually very small and will take on whole new spatial dimensions when they thrash out their differences.
The field that stood out as ‘Rumi’s Field’ is the tiny triangular one with the stone walls which is tucked in at the far side of the inlet.
Do you have a picture in your head of what Rumi’s field would look like?
Last Sunday morning, as I was walking along the cliffs at Ballycotton, Co. Cork, I came to a complete standstill when I saw a set of stones that looked liked the torn out pages of a copybook, some lined, others blank and yet more with bits of artwork.
The lined stones brought me back to nib pens, ink and Father looking over my shoulder as I tried to copy beautifully formed letters with my eight-year-old hand. Line after line of capital Js, small js , capital Fs and small fs, capital Ms and small ms ….. blotting paper soaking up the worst of the mess and Father’s hand eventually guiding mine as we produced the ‘perfect’ letters together and then I managed them, albeit a bit wobbly, on my own. Looking at the unlined stones, I couldn’t but think of the blank pages that have faced every single great writer, poet and artist.
How fortunate we are that they could write; how fortunate I am that I had my father taking an interest in cultivating my ability to form letters and my mother feeding me with a passionate love of books and reading.
As I gazed at the stones, I just thought how a blank page and the ability to write are such precious gifts. In my wild imaginings I could see Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Keats, Yeats, Jane Austen, Emily Dickinson, Maeve Binchy ….. stopping at those stones and leaning down to write masterpieces. I also saw Father’s calligraphy and Mother’s ‘Love from Us Both‘ and promised myself that I would never again see a blank page as anything but glorious pathway.
The first anniversary of my father’s death was on September 10th, 2011. In Section 15 of Losing Elderly Parents, I write about the various thoughts and memories that came to me on that day, which I spent in one of our old haunts -Ballycotton, Co. Cork.