An Lá Foirfe, II

All day…at every turn….the vision I cultivated during the week manifested over and over again in real time. It took sincere effort to be open to receive such splendor and beauty….a real inner stretch was involved.

I stood up to leave Dún Dubhchathair and offered sincere gratitude before I walked back across the fields of karst. And I might have asked for guidance on the way back as there was no trail….just acres of rocks with small patches of grass interspersed among the gray limestone and I had to walk over a kilometer back to the exit point…a stile in a rock wall surrounded by rocks and rock walls.

I made it out of the field of crazy rocks and down the hill to my bike. The pack carrying my camera was quite heavy so I opted to return it to the B & B and take a cycling route I knew from walking the long distance from Kilmurvey House on the other end of the island.

The coastal road provided a nice opportunity to stretch my legs and trust the rickety, rented bicycle wouldn’t fall apart on the downhills. I wore my helmet and bright green cycling jacket. And the cycling nerd in me also packed my headlight and taillight. One of the funniest moments of the trip happened on that ride.

I turned around near Kilmurvey Beach and was enjoying a quiet ride back to Killeany. In the distance I saw three farmers and one of their wives standing in a pasture chatting. All four heads turned and watched me….lights flashing, green jacket, helmet…as I approached and followed me as I passed. No one said a word but I laughed at their facial expressions. You see, a lot of bicycles are rented by tourists and in the week I was on the island I saw only three or four helmets…which is really scary considering the narrow roads, rocks and wide tour vans. I’m still wondering what those four islanders said after I passed….She’s probably seen the drivers here….She must be American… This isn’t the Tour de France. 

By the time I arrived back at Joe Watty’s pub, the final ferry had taken the tourist crowds away so I parked my bike and had a seat at the community table. The local elders were enjoying the evening. It was a Saturday night, after all. There was laughter, a bit of drinking and merriment of the nicest sort. I felt so happy to witness such friendly banter while enjoying a delicious meal and dessert. The raspberry and rhubarb crumble is the best dessert I have ever eaten….anywhere. And it wasn’t just because I had skipped lunch.

After cycling back to the B & B, I decided to end the day by walking up to Teampall Bheanáin–where my pilgrimage began a week ago. But this time I left the big camera and walked lightly. And I didn’t stop at the chapel. I walked all the way to the ocean.

And another surprise unfolded with yet another magnificent view of high cliffs and sea and rocks. I sat on the rocks and began my goodbyes. The weather was turning the next day and the winds were due to pick up the following afternoon so I had changed my shuttle ride and ferry to the morning, instead of later in the day.

It was difficult to start my goodbyes. I sang to the sea. Thank-yous poured from my heart. There was great sadness yet a feeling of incredible support to return back home and continue my work.

As I came down the steep hill from the chapel I felt immense energy coming with me. I felt taller and felt the support of the Ancestors…like Silver Lights. It was a tremendous energetic presence. And it stayed with me as I walked down the street, into the B & B and all the way home. It was like I left something hidden on Árainn long, long ago knowing I would find it when the time was right.

Drifting off to sleep that night I felt the white horse against my face, her warmth and sweet, horse smell made me smile. The energetic presence that had followed me down the hill surrounded me as I journeyed into the dreamtime.

With the strength of the Ancestors I walked with courage into a chaotic world as I left Árainn. Rocks grounded me to Mother Earth. The sea carried me on waves of power. Wind lifted me to heights I could scarcely imagine. Fire of the sun lit the way.

I don’t know what I most miss of Árainn. Sweet bird song among thickets of tightly woven shrubs; craggy, sheer cliffs dropping into the sea; prehistoric stone structures constructed 3500 years ago; green, thick, lush grass; wind that whips and flattens everything in its path; rain that falls in sheets as it moves across the island; soft sand that feels like powdered sugar under bare feet; the sea….the land…the Spirits.

It was a foggy ferry ride back to the mainland of Ireland the next morning. It felt appropriate to hide Árainn in the mist, in the magical mist.

It’s not about changing the world. It’s about opening more to the wisdom found in Nature….its cycles, seasons and persistence speak to me.

Go raibh maith agat, Árainn…..Thank you, Árainn.

An Lá Foirfe….The Perfect Day.

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