Nature’s Ways

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 Bridge of Time

The beech tree is steadfastly holding on to her autumnal leaves until the new growth is ready for show:

Autumn Clothes

For now, the sun can see through the bare tree and cast pensive shadows where soon the there will be a carpet of bluebells:

The Artistry of Shadows

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.

Here-and -Now


Goodbye to All That

One Last Spring
One Last Spring

We got it for H’s eleventh birthday ~ almost ten years ago now. It took over the back garden and was his place to unwind, bouncing high, bouncing low, chatting animatedly to friends on the phone, lying in the sun reading the hurling results in the paper, waving in at me in the kitchen, greeting friends, neighbours and strangers who happened to be walking down the pavement by the side of the house.

Three or four years ago it got a bit wobbly from the pounding of a 6ft+ tall seventeen-year old. It found new users, though. The two dogs dozed on it in high summer, keeping a watchful eye on the comings and goings both inside and outside the house. They sheltered beneath it when the rains came ~ a tight cuddle of black and white.

Puppy Stan thought it was a mountain until the day he finally forgot his fears and leaped up onto in a chase after a tennis ball. He chewed and chewed causing the tiny rip to expand like a flooded river.

This week the trampoline was finally dismantled. I think we all thought it would last forever and none of us have even one photograph of it in all its glory or even half its glory.

The garden seems huge now but within the new space you can feel the zest of spring ~ the spring of life.

Cashel Co. Tipperary ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 232

Cashel, Co. Tipperary is very much associated with the wonderful Rock of Cashel, which is one of the major tourist attractions in Ireland and I would recommend everyone to visit this historic site.

I ended up in Cashel last night and into the early hours of this morning with a car load of  young fellas who were playing in the Senior Open Tennis Tournament which is in full swing there this week.  Two of my contingent battled it out to win a three hour doubles match which went to a third set tie-break and ended sometime after 1am!

Earlier in the evening, I treated myself to a lovely Chinese Meal in The Orchid Garden in Friar Street which is at the top of the main street in the town. I was the lone diner but there were lots of calls for takeaway food.

I had a seat by the window looking down over Cashel. It’s a town that I visited quite a bit in the 1980s and it still has a real charm about it.

The wall paper in The Orchid Garden captivated me totally, especially as we are moving from Summer to Autumn and I wished that I had my camera with me. Suffice it to say, it had leaves of all hues interwoven with each other in a way that made me think of the seasons as Circero (50 BC) described them in On a Life well Spent.

There I was in Cashel in the early Autumn of my life with a group of lads in the early summer of theirs.  As I waited for their long, long game to finish, I couldn’t but think of a night so very like last night when I played a tennis match in Slane Castle as part of the annual Stackallen Tournament in Co. Meath.  It was a humdinger that lasted hours and one that I would happily replay over and over ~ Castle to one side and the flowing Boyne to the other. Meanwhile, a tenacious opponent and great sport who rejoiced in the whole experience as much as I did.

The lads were in flying form as we drove home along the carless roads from Cashel via Waterford to Tramore, where the sea was humming.

I  am certain that they will always remember tonight ~ just as I remember that evening in Slane Castle and I have a feeling that I will never forget tonight either and those leaves spilling down in so, so many senses.

Oddly enough, I had only been thinking earlier about how people these days might describe ‘a life well spent.’ For me, tonight had many of the ingredients but I know there are lots, lots more …..