Archive for May, 2013|Monthly archive page

Fairies Alive in Ireland Still

God so made the world, visible and invisible.  There is an old conviction in a land, with landscapes that do not talk to strangers, in a land where they burn the peat, that riches lay not on the land but beneath it.

To assist your consciousness, there is one old emerging story here: God so made the world, and someone wrote the stories. So to capture the reader in story — to explain why to care — in a world of stories not as often told, comes the mystery.  Of Ireland.

Little is what it seems in this landscape, in a land so poor in County Cork. And city people seldom pay attention to the clouds or the land that they drive over, where the dead sometime walk in the lower portion of the scene. Did you hear, in the silence, the sounds from the landscapes, with the fairies living in this landscape still, among the living?

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“If you ever go across the sea to Ireland…where the women speak a language strangers do not know.”

Any good history begins in strangeness, with strange characters. But it is the landscape that makes part of the everyday miraculous, as people and things from the past resurface there. To walk through the landscapes, you must know the stories. Because stories are embedded in and define the landscape, the death of the story is a small death for the land itself. These stories matter, are a powerful tool, and the closer you get to County Cork where they burn the peat, the more powerful they become. There find the long-been-forgotten stories once so intensely local which helped to mark each townland as so SEPARATE.

Unlike nostalgia, the past is full of dead things preserved on papers, or in the land itself — though mostly unremembered by any living person. And so the stories about where your heroes are? With the same kind of surety that religion, based upon stories, once held in all the world, now rendered at least partially mute, there was this Irish pride about place, distilling information about mitochandrial DNA from the maternal side which seldom strays far from place.

Deliverance. Any good history begins in strangeness, when the newborns cannot comprehend, as the past speaks a language that these strangers do not know. What do you share with your heroes, but of a PEACEFUL landscape. What you share is not stories of a past about this land, but the past?

To share this past, to protect the past…. to protect a place called home threatened by outside forces, and finding the gravitas in the great forced migrations, which threatened the lightness of your inner being as you faced your own extinction. SO maybe the land had failed for a time the locals during the Great Famine, as twenty percent failed, in the fetal distress from the motherland, either to survive or had to leave.

Any good history begins in strangeness, with strange characters formed on an island, in isolation from the rest of the world. The old question of why heroes, mostly at battle against the outside world, centers upon keeping the outsider out. When a homeland was, for those who forever left, for those who stayed contending with displacement, an ideal still to be passed along, with the old need for prayer and a place to pray?

And so the migrations from a place called Ireland where the stories mark the landscape as clearly as the hedgerows and the ruins. In the battle of lightness versus gravitas, you carried the lightness of stories, once so intensely local, with their own fairies living in this landscape, until the stories had become national by the 1930s. Irish-born leaders in this Irish Free State went out to construct an Irish culture, distinct from the English culture which the Irish felt had contaminated the country, without recompense.

In a world of stories not as often told, there was the lightness of your migrations from this land only orphaned –of course, never dead — until reinvigorated by emerging fertility and the old emerging stories here to assist your consciousness. It was stories with word traffic, of rural people and the land which had become The Garden of Eden, where the prayers of the lowly still pierce the clouds. After the Great Famine.

Forced out emigrants, banished by what they were born into. Descendants of Irish immigrants –the sons and daughters of history — only banished from the Garden of Eden which of course had never died. But a trust is so slow to return, if it ever would return, post-famine. What makes the green blade rise, to be mowed down once again? Little is what it seems in this landscape, in a land so poor in County Cork where the dead sometimes walk in portions of the scene. So do fairies live still in this landscape, among the living?

In the beginning of God’s creating the skies and the heaven – when the skies had been shapeless and formless, and darkness had been on the face of the deep, and God‘s spirit was hovering on the face of the water – God said, “Let there be light.” –from Daniel Mendelsohn’s The Lost

Creativity is like either a morning fog or the night itself: It begins to vanish in an Irish landscape like darkness after a few hours. In the real world, with all the warring parties, who really care about nothing but a future — who cares about a past in the present? Who really cares about the lightness of your darn dreams, and what is left over from the previous night’s dream with you?

Knowing someone: there is the outside resentment about the network where people came to know, trust and love one another …. like in the evolutionary stages of religion. Sharing something in common, like from a glass mug. I love a glass mug, with a kind of appeal when you can see through something, to somehow know the content from the sense of scent, in the way you knew the hovering steam inside a glass mug.

“Presence.” Guarded by Mystery, in the war going on over the napkin holder between a new generation.

Guarded by the Mystery. Stories which Richard White writes about in Remembering Ahanagran: A History of Stories – places where other time and other dimensions intrude on the everyday world. And the closer you get to County Cork where they so personally cut into the sod for the peat, you might feel a connection to the land where dead were buried — buried with a fresh spirituality to add to the landscapes. Yes, when you can see through something, to somehow know the content, in the way you knew the hovering steam inside a glass mug of Irish tea. For hundreds of years, before refrigeration and before imports, the people relied and ate only the local produce, from the land. More than simply a place, beyond the vast acreage, about the Irish ghosts and Irish fairies, a land formed in such a way – feel the hovering greatness of the Divine Presence. If you believe.

The fog, the steam, the goodness of the landscape, transparent, like in a glass mug. . . in a hovering spirit, from the ancient peat bogs, near, as you are surrounded by these kind of spirits. There is a human tendency to forget what happened in the formation of the land — in any story the land as a homeland was a living character. To silently remember that God so made this world, visible and invisible. Out of thin air, with such thin borders. Feel the spirit in the air – the same air that gives wing to the birds, gives wings to the notes of a singer which sluices my heart and puts wings on my own heels – in Ireland, where the landscapes do not talk to strangers but miraculous things happen as people and things from the past resurface there. And I somehow had so personally inherited a knowledge of people who I had never known, or never seen –ancestors from Ireland, like people anywhere in time or place who had starved to death, whose spirits would come out again. Knowledge of people, their vanishing lives and hovering Spirit that belonged to a place and to a people across the sea, seemingly impossible for a descendent of Irish immigrants to know and to understand. And so a deeper feeling in the need for “our people,” with our visible and invisible vulnerabilities and imperfections between the sexes over fertility which moved creation. There were the deep feelings that these ancestors from Ireland had, though little different than what I had, in reacting to the circumstances that they lived through, when I somehow had connected to them. It was the stories which had been missing in the times of Noah. To know through reading, in backward glances at history, the do-overs, after the story of Noah. When I no longer had to go through, live through, the same turmoil, the same rebellion, which disrupted lives. Feel the hovering spirit of a people from their vanishing lives that belongs to this place.

The fog, the steam, the goodness of the landscape, transparent, like in a glass mug. . . in a hovering spirit, in the realm of ghosts, nothing was reliable in the here and now. Feel a presence in a silent night, with the spirits, hovering, as the buried dead add to the landscapes, add to the stories — to so quietly infiltrate the land like a spy along the thin borders of the past to the future . The dead do rise from their graves, and somehow I had inherited the stories with a conviction of the importance of “a process” as a visible product – to the Irish. And the closer you get to County Cork where they so personally cut into the sod for the peat, you might feel a connection to the land where dead are buried.

In the realm of ghosts. Time and place and land. In a world with a need for personal identity, I had this knowledge – a head full of stories associated with the places to which I had traveled – mostly local knowledge useless any place where there is so much food. Could you feel a closeness because you shared the same interior space – inside and more inside, like “PLACE” in a story like with the pain of childbirth – which helps an old spirit emerge, along with a host of surprising truths about this land surrounded by water and God’s hovering Spirit?

“If you ever go across the sea to Ireland . . . where the women speak a language strangers do not know.”

Stories of a past should not fit comfortably, should not be flat otherwise why would, why should, young people care? The stories were once so intensely local – like the one about Lot’s wife and her personal identity from the land of Sodom which she could not ever leave behind – it was conflict of the past with the present which always moves a story for people so unique who always inter-married. With the little changing border, there could be a threat in story based upon pride, of being distinct from your neighbor. There the once forgotten stories –-the stories once so intensely personal if not private, with the hovering smell of the turf-fire — should not become like wisps of vanishing cigarette smoke, banned in public place, but like the moon over the Cliffs of Moher, should rise up to meet every returning prodigal.

Connections. The Private. The Public. Visible and invisible, the different world of land and landscapes from different times, before things had become so easy. These landscapes do not talk to strangers, in the new world of cremation and digital bookstores, though things do here resurface, in the rising of the moon, from an always buried past. In the awkward silence, listen. Stories associated with places where you had to take in everyone, like a spy. When you cannot get out, except through stories, and in trying to pass something in the way of spiritual power on, you needed others to tell stories– otherwise you would go, over a time, crazy. Did you ever feel the power of Irish ghosts and Irish fairies – that many an outsider confuse with the power in Irish whiskey — in stories?

To be captured first by not the landscape but stories about this land. Did you hear in the silence the sounds from the landscapes? I have come to tell you stories of the rising from the dead, because when life is too easy, no one is ever gonna move. And so the deeper feeling in the need for “our people,” with our vulnerabilities and imperfection between the sexes, over fertility which moved creation.

And so out of thin air, the creation STORY of the Garden of Eden, with the land in the landscape where you had to take in everyone — keeping the outsider out, the insider in — came this call to feed the hungry at the door. So to whom did this land really ever belong?

In the land that, Delores Keane sings, owns you. It is the land that takes in the overflow of people. Yes, the riches lay not on the land but beneath it. T’is said grief was the tax that Irish paid on the richness of a life, if not the land with all of its parameters which tried to hold us in. Over the past 18 months, I have buried two more relations named Tom. It has not been a good decade for any of the Toms of my life. In the passing of the most recent Tom, I went looking for the song that was played as the concluding song at the requiem for my Uncle Tom. And now when I hear the song that my brother-in-law desired sung at his own recent funeral, I hear the words as more the words of the dead to the living.

May the road rise to meet you . . .

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“I have spread my dreams under your feet. Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.” – on a plaque upon the home in Howth (outside of Dublin) of William Butler Yeats

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So to capture the reader in land — to explain why to care — comes the mystery. In Ireland.

May The Road Rise To Meet You

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