In the context of all that’s going on in the world, I know that this post may seem a bit unnecessary but I am feeling extremely upset having heard over the weekend that the lovely little wooden bridges in my local wood are to be replaced by shiny metal ones. Unfortunately the new bridges are already made and ready to install as soon as we come out of this current top level Lockdown.
The wooden bridges are beautiful and have been there as long as I can remember. I even have a photo somewhere that Dad took years back of a slightly different style of wooden bridge but they were wooden.
I have spent hours and hours and hours out in these woods and the highlight for me are the wooden bridges and their lovely design. They allow one to cross a tiny stream that runs down to the sea which is about a five minute walk down or even less. The woods were planted many years ago and have little paths and lots and lots of wild flowers and an array of different trees.
Wooden Bridge of Newtown Wood, Tramore, Co. Waterford
The little bridges have fallen into a bit of disrepair in recent times and need attention but I simply can’t understand how anyone could think that metal bridges should replace these little gems that have such a place in the hearts of so many generations of people from Tramore and further afield.
It’s hard to know what can be done to stop a process that has gone so far but it seems important to try when such beauty and sense of place is at stake.
There’s an awful lot of things I don’t understand and I’m not sure that I need to understand them, especially as I’m a puppy dog and no one expects me to be contemplating stuff.
What has me awesticken today is the way my wood kept changing depending on the time of day and where we were in relation to it.
This was this morning:
Then, this evening, we were there when it was getting a bit dark and some of the leaves were all crumpled up and ready to fall. I love walking on paths of leaves but I feel sad looking at the ones that are sort of clinging on for dear life:
Jean disappeared onto a cliff when the sun was setting to take some photos of her old friend the Metal Man:
I wondered if I’d ever see her again cos the cliff is awful steep and she gets a bit careless at sunset time. To take my mind off that worry and fretsomeness, I gazed and gazed at the way our little wood was all decorated by the sunset. You’d never think it had any crumpled leaves, would you?
I wonder will that leaf have fallen by tomorrow. If it does fall, I hope it has a nice, soft landing. That’s something everyone needs, I think.
This was meant to be all relaxez-vous and lig do scith (that’s ‘relax’ in Irish) but I’m in a total dogfaddle cos I think I’ve banjaxed Jean’s phone and I may have bagsed up the blog by sticking my big nose into stuff that’s not really mine.
See, they were all out for a while and I got a bit bored, especially when the sun spot I was snoozing in went all shady and chilly.
I was dying to have a look at pics Jean took out in the woods this morning and managed to get phone down from the kitchen table (with a box of bikkies). I was all sugared up and found myself downloading and uploading like nobody’s business. Only thing was I was deleting and crumbing up all sorts of stuff, including some VIPs ( very important photos).
How am I going to explain? Maybe she’ll see this video and be all calm before she tackles me – if she can find me.
I’m going to need every bit of calm I can muster so let’s all sit back and breathe nice and easy and just ‘be.’
I’ve noticed Stan does a huge amount of existentialist staring out to sea. I want to be Stan.
I’m all of a dither after seeing this comment from a brilliant Irish blogger called Tara Sparling. (She writes about books but in the funniest way imaginable.)
Anyway, I had to go off an see what ‘existentialist’ means and my puppy brains are all mish-mashed after trying to get to grips with it. Why do people have to use such impossible words?
Here’s the first definition I came a across and I think it’s best that I stay at this point:
Existentialism is a philosophy that emphasizes individual existence, freedom and choice. It is the view that humans define their own meaning in life, and try to make rational decisions despite existing in an irrational universe.
This is pretty gobbledly-gookish, isn’t it? I’m wondering, though, if it’s gobbledy-gookish for someone to want to be me? The gas thing about thinking that I spend my time staring at the sea,or anything else for that matter, is that those are the only times that anyone can manage to get a photo of me. Staring time is about 1% cent of my waking hours (and 75% of my dreaming hours.)
Seriously, though, can anyone ever get to know someone else? I mean, people and puppies can come across in particular ways or as having their own little or HUGE foibles but can we ever know for sure what’s going on in their heads and their hearts?
I’ve heard Jean talking about a thing her father used to say and it’s stuck in my little head through a lot. He used to say to Jean when she’d be complaining about something: Would you throw your lot into the pile and take your chances with someone else’s? I can tell you one thing, I wouldn’t throw my lot in for all the dog bikkies in the world. You’d never know what you’d end up with ~ I mean I could be a poor little puppy that’s beaten and flogged every day and never given any food or fresh water and there are lots of puppies in that kind of mess of a life.
But, I’d say to Tara that she’d have a great time if she was me but it’s probably not remotely like the great that she thinks. I’d quite like to be her cos of her funny blog but I’m not taking any chances. I’ll just hang around here where I know I’m loved ~ existentially and every other way!
P.S. I bet you that Tara is going to win at the Irish Blog Awards that are being announced tomorrow night. Look out for her!
Little things mean an awful lot to us puppy dogs. Well, going out for our morning walk in the Wood might seem mundane to you but to me, it’s bliss.
I was tickled pink to find that Jean had been playing around with some photos of our daily constitutional from today.
What do you reckon about this framed one?
There’s one that I especially love. It’s of our tree at the end of path – you can see the sea from there but we always say a little ‘hello’ to the tree as well.
Oh, the ‘big deal’ is that one of MY posts got longlisted for Best Dog Blog Post in the Irish Blog Awards. I’m all of a quiver about it. Jean seems awful cool about her blog being Longlisted in Best Something or Other Category but maybe that’ll change. You never really know what she’s thinking. Well, I have a fair idea but I don’t understand how she’s not all in a tizz about this. She says she wants me to go places in it and that that’s what’s imporant to her about it.
When all is said and done, so long as me and her can be together is what matters to me.
My very favourite time of day is my walk in the woods with Jean early in the morning. We’re together but we kinda do our own thing. I mean she’s not sniffing around in the grass or chasing birds ~ at least not usually! Yesterday, I thought she had turned into me when we saw a duck ~ yes a duck ~ walking along the path on the way to the wood.
She told me not to bark or even think about jumping out of the car but next thing I see her walking right up to the duck and then doing a sort of little hunker down to take this photo of it:
I thought I’d burst watching this whole performance but I’m slowly learning that patience pays off and that I can’t ALWAYS have what I want. That’s an awful hard lesson and I was thrilled when I saw the duck flying off with its friend who I could see hiding in the ditch.
The wood was all shiny and shadowy. I can’t explain very well but this photo might help you understand what I mean:
You know the way Jean is always going on about bridges, well I take every chance I can to cross over the little wooden bridges out in Newtown. See, I know she’ll want to take photos and I hope that she won’t notice if I sneak off to have a sniff around or even make for the fields that lead off from the top path. I don’t understand but she always seems to have me in her sights even if her eye is stuck right up against the camera and it’s like she has a hold over me without even seeing what I’m at ….. could she be able to see me when she’s not looking at me ~ that’s hitting me now and throws a whole new light on the meaning of bridges and connections that she’s obsessed with:
You wouldn’t believe how much the wood changes from one day to the next. I mean, these leaves appeared out of nowhere. They look like umbrellas to me but then I’m under them:
What’s different about Newtown and all the other woods we go to is that the sea is waiting at the bottom of Newtown and you never know what it’s going to be like. Don’t tell anyone but I’m a bit afraid when the waves are big and bubbly but you’d have to admire them all the same ~ from a distance:
We always stand together and watch the waves even if Jean is in a mad rush and she always says ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ to the sea like it’s a very old friend. I might start to do that in my own way too one of these days.
You know, I think I’ve a fair chance of getting Jean to start sniffing around like I do. I wish she would cos she can’t possibly know how much she’s missing.
Can anyone tell me how people can complain about ‘having to go for a walk?’ It’s my idea of heaven, happiness, healthiness and USness all thrown into one. How can there be a problem with that?
Early morning in my precious Newtown Wood, just outside Tramore, brings signs of changing seasons. Just as people don’t move through life in a uniform way, trees and flowers have their own ways of adapting and moving on.
The beech tree is steadfastly holding on to her autumnal leaves until the new growth is ready for show:
For now, the sun can see through the bare tree and cast pensive shadows where soon the there will be a carpet of bluebells:
Looking skyward, it’s clear that a canopy of green leaves will soon draw the blinds over the blue sky:
Down near the little stream, the celandines gleam with pride, promise and gentle purpose as they take us by the hand to celebrate diversity, humility and here-and-nowness.
My life has been punctuated by four incredibly special dogs and the days I got each of them are definitely among the very happiest days of my life.
I know this may sound a bit extreme, but they rank way ahead of my wedding day or the day our son was born. Both those days were fraught in their own ways, whereas the doggy days were relaxed and somehow pure joy.
Today marks the first anniversary of meeting Puppy Stan ~ feeling him clinging onto me and gazing into my eyes when I picked him up in that dark yard in the depths of Co. Wexford.
He’s found his niche in our world now and is lying on ‘his’ chair in the kitchen basking in the sun, as I write this. Goodness only knows what he’s dreaming about! Perhaps summer days on the beach?
I think he knows that it’s a special day. He was full of his fun before the sun even rose and the pair of us were out ‘skating’ on the frosty paths long before the rest of the world had woken.
After yesterday’s post, I felt the need to connect with nature in all her beauty.
I took to the woods with Stan:
From there for a deep cleanse in the sea as the sun was setting.
And home to hot juiced apples with cinnamon and, of course, poetry:
A state you must dare not enter
with hopes of staying,
quicksand in the marshes, and all
the roads leading to a castle
that doesn’t exist.
But there it is, as promised,
with its perfect bridge above
and its doors forever open.
(Stephen Dunn: from Staying Alive, edited by Neil Astley, Bloodaxe Books).
My very special haunt, and one that I visit every single day, is Newtown Wood, just about a mile from my home here in Tramore.
Only yesterday a couple stopped me at the top of the wood, where I’d parked the car, and asked: Where does that path go?
For me, it’s a path that leads to peace, ever-changing nature and the sea. Newtown Wood goes back to the O’Neill-Power family, of the now sadly decrepit Newtown House who planted the trees almost two hundred years ago.
Newtown Wood is the place where I think, plan and go forward with renewed anticipation each day. I know it so well, at this stage, that I feel I can read its every change and mood, just as it seems to be able to read mine.
Here’s a sense of how it has been over the last few mornings when I’ve been there with ‘puppy’ Stan:
I’d love to hear about your special haunt and/or the place where you take your daily constitutional.