It’s Mother’s Day here in Ireland and Puppy Stan woke me at an unearthly hour ~ possibly to wish me Happy Mother’s Day ~ but he brought me off for a frosty jaunt that was filled with thoughts of my mother.
This is my seventh Mother’s Day since she died in May 2009. A grown-up daughter whose mother is rather unwell at the moment asked me recently: Do you miss your mother? I was a little taken aback by her directness and found myself hesitating for a few seconds.
I answered as honestly as I possibly could and said: Yes, I do but not half as much as I expected I would because it’s like she’s with me all the time. I wish someone had told me it would/could be like this when I was in a total state in the last years of her life. I’m glad she didn’t battle on as her quality of life was going to be more and more diminished and this way I feel that she’s at peace and also that I have her love, wisdom and sense of fun beating away within me.
This morning was one of those mornings when Mother was right with me as Stan and I headed off just to ‘be with her.’
She was passionate about nature and it was like nature herself was beaming for her too. Ponies and horses were a fundamental part of her growing up and this pair looked surreal as the sun was rising over the frosty fields:
The sea was soft and gentle ~ just like Mother’s touch:
On the path down to her beloved Annestown, the grass that we so often sat on having picnics after swims was glittering in the frost:
There was no possibility of resisting the chance to leave her a little message on the sand:
Out along the Copper Coast, sheep and lambs adorned a few fields close to the road. A ewe and her lamb came close to me and I was stunned to see that she was No. 29 ~ Mother’s special number always as her birthday was on the 29th.
Mother always loved to wander alone with nature, knowing that she could always come back to people who loved her.
As I look at this photograph that Dad took of her, I feel like I could call and she would turn around smiling and hold out her hand for me to come along with her:
It’s very often the little things that are the BIG things in my life.
Yes, I went back out to watch the lambs with their mothers and here’s a little clip from the time I spent there.
It was only when I started for home that I realised how much time had passed and that night was closing in.
I was also captivated by the beauty of the country road ~ with the glimpse of the ocean at the end of it. It made me think of all the people who live in the middle of big cities, like I did for many years, and who don’t have the opportunity to see night falling without the roar of traffic and the hustle and bustle of people rushing around.
How hard it is to escape from places. However carefully one goes they hold you – you leave little bits of yourself fluttering on the fences – little rags and shreds of your very life.
Today has been one of those sensual Sundays when you feel that nature is striving to shock, soothe and soul-search all at the same time.
I guess we needed a day like this here in Ireland with all the upheaval going on in the background as the General Election count goes on and on and political uncertainty hangs in the air.
I had lambs on my mind as I drove towards the Copper Coast searching the fields for new arrivals. The sky looked uncertain as I left Tramore and soon a snowy vista opened up in front of me as the Comeragh Mountains, which look down on the sea, were well powdered:
The sea itself was basking under blue, blue skies and the tall cliffs at Benvoy Beach were in deep reflection:
Near Bonmahon, I found the peaceful bleating and gentleness that I had been craving. It swept me out of time and into a warm, woolly world of whispering and playfulness.
I had intended to just post a photograph today and wish all my friends and followers a very Happy Easter. However, when I got to thinking about the photograph I was so determined to present, it seemed only right to explain a little about ‘why’ of this one and its subject matter.
The photograph was taken by my late father in the 1970s in Bulmer’s Orchard, just outside Clonmel, Co. Tipperary. He was a man with a passion for photography and nature and the more I look through his collection, the more I have been finding shots of sheep and lambs.
They bring me right back to all the Easters which we spent at my Grandmother’s Farm in Co. Meath when I was a child. The scene was always one dominated by daffodils, sheep, lambs and love. We would have an Easter Egg hunt organised by Granny ~ tiny little Easter Eggs hidden in the crevices of the big stone wall in the yard and buried in the hay barn where the hens roamed freely.
The magnetism of Dad’s photograph seemed to be even stronger than all that. This morning I was watching birds at the bird-table under the lilac tree in my garden but lambs were on my mind. Suddenly, the missing pieces came to me. A night, very shortly after I had started school. I had five Irish words to learn for homework and was struggling. Mother, who knew very little Irish was in the bath, and I shouted in to her begging her to help me. The only word I can remember being on the list was ‘an uan‘ (the lamb). Mother pretended to get all mixed up about the words and I found myself having to ‘teach’ her as she splashed around in her warm bath. ‘An uan ~ the lamb ~ uan ….. U A N.’
And Mother’s words of comfort for years and years ~ Ah, my little pet lamb.
I suspect now that Father took photographs of every lamb he saw because of Mother’s love of them. So, Happy Easter all, and if you are feeling any way lonesome for any reason, just think of the soothing words, My little pet lamb, and I guarantee you’ll find yourself with a calm smile!