Monday, March 11, 2013

On a Clear Day You Can See Forever...

The View from Abbey Hill
   The photograph on the right is of one of my favorite spots in the Burren region of Ireland.  Located on the northern edge just outside Belle Harbour, it is called Abbey Hill.  While the view is spectacular, with Galway Bay in the distance, it is more the spirit of the place that draws me here each time I visit.

   As it is in so much of the Burren, there is a sense of time suspended here; held within the cracks of the limestone is a distant past and you can feel the pulse beat of those who have gone before...the ancient monks, the farmers, the warriors and the saints; they all come together in this place.

    You may think you are sitting alone on the rocky outcropping, enjoying your lunch or sketching or simply breathing in the beauty of it all but you would be wrong.  I came upon this face carved into a stone here and its enchanting demeanor captivated me.  It has come to represent the living presence of the place for me.  The past is never truly past blends quietly with the present in countless ways creating the unique layered energy this site has. It is one of the many "thin places" that exist in Ireland.

   Time in the West of Ireland, as my friend John O'Donohue loved to say, is more than calendar time and it is here, on Abbey Hill, that you can sense it best.  That is what I meant by the title of this post..."On a clear day you can see forever". The "forever" reaches backwards as well as forwards.  This location is a kind of crazy quilted history stitched together with the wind and the rock.  The past, the present and the future blend in splendid synchronicity.  This is where I go in my mind when the world is too much with me...everyone should have a place they can withdraw to, if not in reality then in a photograph.


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