Round Ireland with an iPhone: Belfast#1.

Today in Belfast seemed like the first day of a real Spring season so I took a walk around Botanic Gardens and Stranmillis. Cherry blossoms are everywhere and the bluebells are in full bloom as well, perhaps a little early but I’m not complaining since they’re my favourite flower. Though sunny, the air was chill and I used that as an excuse to do my usual jaunt into the Ulster Museum (so conveniently situated right in the lovely Botanic Gardens). Took a few snaps along the way, hope you enjoy 😊

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Rooting for Wild: A Tribute to Book and Film

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I love walking, especially in the Mourne Mountains with my husband Fintan. Reading about walking cheers me too, especially blogs like 30 ways of walking and Rebecca Solnit’s book Wanderlust, as I noted in early posts.

Imagine how delighted I was to find Cheryl Strayed’s book Wild . It is well worth catching up with for the intensity of experience and the magnificence of nature described by this great author. Her references to poetry and literature as inspirational resources resonate with me too, as I’ve mentioned before.

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Tied in with her extreme hike (like most walkers) Strayed found herself on an inner journey as well. Though I’m no real hiker, sticking to a few hours or maybe a day and certainly no camping rough, I too find a form of therapy and restoration in walking. It’s the rhythm of the tramp, the exercise, the fresh air, the daylight, the space to breathe and think and feel.

We caught the movie recently too and I commend Reese Witherspoon- she did a wonderful job and really got the emotion across as well as the gruelling physicality of the role. Wild certainly deserves some Oscars – I’m rooting for Wild.

The wild wood

I love this blog fifepsychogeography and this post particularly gripped me with its magical images that capture the wonderfully liminal quality of nature and even tumble down buildings being reclaimed slowly by the earth and it’s vegetation. The poetry has also distilled the intensity of the atmosphere – I found it to be of much comfort and inspiration as I struggle with some current health problems and with an awful brain fog. Thank you fifepsychogeography, I look forward to more 🙂

From Hill to Sea

Beyond the Hawthorn

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Beyond the hawthorn, lies the wild wood

“cuckoo, cuckoo”

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over the threshold

forms and colours

of the Otherworld

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… snake-eye stirs

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jaw click, snout

and a slither

of tongues

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threat or supplication?

paw or claw?

who  hears the cry

of the wild wood?

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no-one here

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anyone?

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the oracle

of the wood

whispers:

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… always the leaves

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Invitation to the light

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… always the light

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 ≈≈≈

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Hawthorn bushes and the call of a cuckoo conjure up the tale of Thomas the Rhymer a thirteenth century Scottish mystic, wandering minstrel and poet. Folklore tells of how Rhymer meets the Faery Queen by a hawthorn bush from which a cuckoo is calling. The Queen takes Rhymer on a journey of forty days and forty nights to enter the faery underworld.  Some versions of the tale say Rhymer was in the…

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On Fountains

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Picture 1. The Tazza Fountain, Italian Garden, Kensington Gardens, London.

There is something about a fountain that enlivens and refreshes. The physicality and coolness of gushing water seems to seep into the mind and spirit via the bodily sensation of just standing there watching, witnessing, hearing, absorbing and breathing in the fresh, cool, spray-filled air.

On a recent trip to London with my husband Fintan, we enjoyed an afternoon’s walk in Kensington Gardens, discovering the newly re-furbished Italian Garden in the process. The Tazza fountain held a particular fascination for me and its magnetic attraction kept me there for ages, feeling almost hypnotised.

But it was the sculpture itself that also set me thinking along a symbolic thread. Tazza derives from the Italian trend for bowl fountains, often supported by putti caryatids, which actually looked more like mermaids to my mind. It seemed as if there was an energy rising up from their tails and through to the Tazza’s gurglings, outpourings and water tumbles, full of light, energy and life.

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Picture 2.  Another view. Both photographs by Fintan McDonnell.

I was minded of a recent dream series where I dreamt of mermaids for several nights in a row. The final dream contained a particularly intriguing set of images and the mermaids had transformed into a merman:

I was standing by a lake, watching a man swim towards me. When he reached the shore, he rose out of the water and I ‘realised’ he was a merman, not with a fish tail but with webbed hands and feet and fins on his back and on the backs of his legs. He lay down on his side by the lake’s edge. I sat down beside him, ‘knowing’ he had been sent to me ‘with a special message’. He told me he was ‘the man from Atlantis’ and though unspoken, I perceived his communication that he had ‘brought me a gift’.

I ‘knew’ it was a gift of knowledge of some sort, which I now interpret as an unveiling of self-knowledge, a connection with the unconscious well of the universal soul perhaps. I am not a trained Jungian, but have delved far and wide into Jung’s writings and those of many Jungian scholars, most recently Jean Raffa’s blog at  http://jeanraffa.wordpress.com/ and sense there are more meanings in this dream, meanings which I wonder might take a lifetime to unearth?

But the feeling of motivation, uplift and renewed purpose has stayed with me, even though I don’t really understand the dream’s content and I think it was this that re-awakened on encountering the fountain, and all fountains since. So my love affair with water continues, and an obsession with fountains has just begun! Thanks for visiting, and slaínte 🙂

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