Saturday, February 2, 2013

Groundhog day

Halfway through winter, again.

An Cailleach Bhearra wandered around back in the 10th century in western Ireland, eating "seaweed, salmon, and wild garlic" (my kind of woman), looking for firewood.

If the day was bright and sunny, beware--she had gathered plenty of wood and was set for many cold days ahead. If the day was gray, she didn't bother, and she will make the days warm up again. Sound familiar?


A few summers ago, Leslie and I left Doolin on foot, and headed up the trail to the Cliffs of Moher, Cailleach's country, climbing over stone walls and electrified fences, keeping an eye out for bulls, as we wend our way up to the cliffs.

A few times we crept carefully along trails just inches from a fatal fall. We were foolish, and we were rewarded for our foolishness with the gift of life and shared love.

(You can, of course, go to the "official" Cliffs of Moher, and pay your euros for safe walkways, clean bathrooms, and an interpretive center to tell you what to experience.)

We live in a linear world, or pretend so. We try to teach our children to live in the same world, the world in our heads, the safe one. They buck this, as we did when we were young.

Winter lived well reminds me I will die.
So will you.
So will our children.

Cailleach, the goddess of winter, destroys what is useless to make room for new life, and makes spring possible again.

Should my children again wander over to Doolin, my brain will urge them to stick to the sanctioned trails.

My heart, though, hopes otherwise.
I want my children alive, but I want them to live.

Photos by Leslie: winter jetty taken Sunday, my leg over a cliff .
And Leslie reminded me that our eldest has already walked the same trail--we did something right.

Old post repeated, for me.


Kate T said...

Spring is coming.
Of course today it snows in Chicago, some of the first snow of this winter. But it was light when I woke this morning. The light returns.

May all our children find the courage to walk a path of daring to live.

Lee said...

The best vacations I had were the ones with no itinerary, no "have to sees", no schedules and no rules. I visited Cornwall once, Tintagel specifically, searching out the purported birthplace of King Arthur. As we walked along a very narrow path that traversed the side of a cliff, we paused to take in the view (and so I could take off my non-hiking shoes). As we stood there in silence, in the grass off to the side of the trail, a lone stalk of grass slowly sank into the ground. Something was under there pulling that blade straight down. It took a few minutes because the progress was slow and the blade was long. Nothing else moved to either side. It is my fondest memory of that day!