Summer has come

I love the moments of day- and night break. Sunrise and sunset, both of them are dramatic events in which a status quo or a point of balance, an equilibrium is touched. Often these moments represent an atmosphere of peace in which the world seems to stand still.

sunriseSunrise

sunsetSunset

At night the cattle have laid themselves down at ease in the little fields as the cats have taken in their places in niches of the stonewalls. So have the birds found their place of rest for the night on the wire. As it is similar in the early morning when most of the animals are still in a sleepy state.

isn't he cuteIsn’t he cute

These moments of breaking are vital in the ongoing process of daily life. It gives us the possibility of reflection on the worn day and focus on the new day to come.
Well, I suppose you can imagine the sort of impact the following incident had on me when I tell you that this all happened just before sunset. As I said before about the overall atmosphere of the moment it was quite unexpected that something happened at all at this time of day anyway. Anyhow, this time it was different all together as a tremendous spectacle took place on the spot. Not only I heard a cacophony of different callings all of a sudden, there was also a buzz of coming and going. Although some of them sat down on the wire this was only for a second or two. Up they flew again and off they went with their mates in a whirling formation and disappeared from site only to return a few instances later. Eventually the birds settled down again and the usual peace of time of night was restored. I could not stop thinking however of something important must be in the air.
The answer arrived only a few days later when I heard the unmistakable clear calling as an entrada in the early morning. The cuckoo is back: Summer has come.

hawthorn in bloomHawthorn in bloom

summer has comeSummer has come

Slán go fóill,
Elisabeth from Inis Meáin

Celebrations on the island

Spells of heavy rainfall after dramatic rainbows like the one low above the Atlantic, ceased suddenly.

it is raining at seaIt is raining at sea

only partly rain will touch the islandOnly partly rain will touch the island

A lovely day of sunshine followed with an even more wonderful celebration of the birthday of one of four oldest ladies on the island. It was only a few days earlier actually that the oldest lady or the so called queen of Inis Meáin, celebrated her birthday for the respectable ninety fifth time already. It was on Maundy Thursday we sang for her in the church before Mass was read. She and the lady being in the center of festivity this time are actually cousins.

Although reading Mass in the family homes used to happen more often in earlier days, this time it was even more special because it was part of the birthday celebration. With the door wide open, something you could not have dreamt of to happen the weeks before, the sun radiated the room with her glance.

radiatingradiating for the day

One by one or in small groups people started to drip in and found a place on the prepared seats. It was a lovely happening all together with the people meeting and chatting, surrounding the subject of the festivities, drinking it all in, in their midst.

another lovely day aheadA lovely day lies ahead

Then the priest arrived and arranged the attributes for Mass. Before he read Mass the priest painted a picture with words of the warm personality of the one who reached ninety years of age that day. During the year he spent on Inis Meáin and used to visit her often, he told, there were always people staying with her. People from all over Ireland and beyond who used to come to her for many years to share in her welcoming warmth and friendliness. For this special event Mass included even more interludes of sung thanksgivings than usual.
While the day passed on with sandwiches, sweets and not to forget the birthday cake with a burning candle in the middle, many people came along to congratulate the thrilled ninety year old.
As was memorized again the day after her birthday; she only went to bed after the last visitor had left, to look bright and happy again the following morning ready for what this day would have in stock for her.

what the day will have in stock for me todayWhat the day will have in stock for me today

Slán go fóill,
Elisabeth from Inis Meáin

Imeacht spraíúil an lae (sportive event of the day)

Like some sort of patience we all need to have at this time of year. Eagerly we are waiting for the sun to come out. And although sunshine is felt, the air is still cold. Looking through the window the weather outside looks beautiful full of promise like a summer‘s day which has only started. Eventually time with a grade of summer will come, it only needs time.

exercise in waitingExercise in waiting

another field in waitingAnother field in waiting

The quality of exercise in patience; this is the first thing coming into my mind when I am watching the men and the boys playing the annual ‘cead’ game on Lá Fhéile Pádraig. As the tradition goes, the game is exclusively played by male. Therefore I only see a good few men and older boys having gathered on the field at Trá Leithreach, the beach near the old pier.

on the way to the cead fieldOn the way to the cead field

They all seem to use their own favourite wooden bat as the variety in sort and size is big. After a hawser has been laid down widthwise to mark the demarcation line the game which is played with two teams, is ready to start. Alternating between the groups one person is on turn.

interested in cead tooInterested in cead too

The one who is the brunt comes in front now. He seems to take adequate time for putting down his ‘passive instrument’ between two stones. It is a tiny little stick he uses, carved out of wood of about two inches long and half an inch wide, I suppose, with a slight broadening or narrowing in the middle. When he has secured the stick in the upright position on the stones the player carefully picks up his bat. I see him ’doing’ everything at the same time now: concentration on the stick, inward alertness in preparing his controlled outward movements later on and being Argus-eyed in patient concentration for the right moment to hit the stick.

To me, being with him in thought, it seems to take ages but finally the moment is there when the tiny stick is hit high into the air followed by the other exciting movement of hitting the stick at the right moment and pass it at least across the demarcation line.

While the game for the adults continues, the next generation is having his own exercise in patience in playing cead in one of the corners of the field.

two generations  exercisingTwo generations exercising

Slán go fóill,

Elisabeth from Inis Meáin

Aran Islands. News, Information. Useful Links