December 21st is a major day on my calendar because it marks the end of the dark, dark days of the year. Today in Ireland, sunrise was at 8.32am and sunset at 4.20pm. Last light is at 5.01 – that’s just in 12 minutes time, as I write.
It’s like nature knew today was Winter Solstice. The sun didn’t bother to come out and the clouds were almost touching the ground. But, my precious sea was showing white with lovely fluffy waves and the bulbs that I planted in hope back a few months ago seemed to spring up overnight as it knowing that their time is fast arriving.
I usually make a pilgrimage to one of out local dolmens on December 21 to celebrate the day but my sprained ankle is still restricting me in terms of walking on anything but the most even of even ground.
However, I am at the local dolmens in spirit and remembering times when we lived near Newgrange in Co. Meath, which is such a special place for Winter Solstice people.
It’s been a dark year with the pandemic hanging over us all and we still have a good deal to Winter out but there IS light ahead if we remain patient and treasure every little glimmer along the way.
I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars. (Og Mandino)
What was a quick walk at sundown yesterday after a long day at the computer turned into a feast of soothing light out by Carrigavantry Lake, which is just a couple of miles from Tramore.
It brought thoughts of lines from W.B. Yeats’ wonderful Lake Isle of Innisfree:
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a-glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.
Carrigavantry is a place that holds all sorts of memories for son, Harry, and me and we often go there when we crave tranquillity. Yesterday, though, was different as it was an ordinary day for both of us ~ that is, if any day can ever be called ‘ordinary.’
We didn’t go there for any emotional reasons or with any inner longings but it was like as if Carrigavantry hadn’t been told that and was determined to envelope us in magical light.
The green of Spring seemed tinged with Autumnal gold as we caught our first view of the nestling blue lake:
The rusty old bath that serves as a water trough fitted in perfectly with the golden hues. There was a softness in the air that made the ordinary exude extraordinariness:
The lake itself was high and the dying sun melted into the trees that frame it:
As we left for home, a well-coated grey horse gazed a pensive farewell:
I went for a late night swim last night in one of my very favourite beaches here in Co. Waterford.
The fact that it was moving towards Dad’s birthday today was on my mind ~ he was born in 1919 and died in 2010.
Imagine my surprise when I got to the swimming spot and saw that someone had written the message, that was subconsciously swirling around in my head, high up on the rocks.
I’m certainly not a fan of writing on rock faces but I must admit that this message was one which seemed to shout out what I and no doubt many other people whose beloved fathers have died, or left for some reason, feel.
The swim was divine and later I was lured by the gorgeous light out along the coast.
Lots and lots of happy memories of times spent with Dad along this Co. Waterford coastline and, of course, my thoughts wandered to Co. Clare which was his native heath ~ a place that was his absolute heaven.