Saturday, March 16, 2013

In Praise of Islands...

I'll admit it; I'm a HUGE fan of islands! So many of the places I've visited are islands...large and small.  In late June I will spend a week on Monhegan Island here in my home state of Maine and I look forward to re-visiting this charming place. It is a house share with other photographers/artists. I think sharing a house is a great way to stay inexpensively in interesting places with like minded folks.  I have a house share in Down East Maine this September and one in the Burren area of Ireland in May of 2014.  You might consider joining me!

     The photograph in this post was made on the tiny island of Inis Bofin (Isle of the White Cow) off the coast of Connemara in  Western Ireland.  A place not visited as much as some of the other Irish out islands but very beautiful.  I try to make a point to getting to these less touristed islands when I travel and I'm never disappointed.   So....what is it about islands for me?

They Were There That Day - Inis Bofin, Ireland, 2007
   Well, it might have to do with something an old gentleman said to me after I made this photograph that day.  I asked him if those distant mountains were the Twelve Bens in Connemara. "Aye," he said, "When you can see them that is." "And when you can't?", I asked.  "Well, they are not there, are they, so I guess you would say they are nothing."

   When the island is wrapped in fog it is if it is the only place on earth and the islander's comment held a sense of pride in the fact.  Even something as substantial as a mountain range ceases to exist.  It is the splendid isolation of islands that attracts me I think.

  You can't get lost on an island.  When you get to the water you just turn around!  There is a heavenly containment on an know your boundaries and it becomes for you a microcosm of the world. Since I'm a confirmed, dyed in the wool wanderer, islands have a sense of safety to them.

   In yesterdays post I spoke about the magical quality of living on the edge of the sea.  Being completely surrounded by this thin white line makes islands profoundly evocative for the contemplative photographer and, truly, if I could live anywhere in the world it would certainly be on an island.   But I think what I love most about islands are island the old gentleman that shared part of my walk that day.  Island people help each other because they are all dependent on each other.  It is not always easy to rely on the mainland for help at times of trouble.  You have to be able to rely on your own inner strength and the strength of your neighbors.  You have to be a special person to live on an island I think. You have to be able to accept the restrictions island living imposes on not being able to run out to the big box store whenever the mood strikes you...that would be perfectly fine with me!


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