Tag Archives: inis meain.inishmaan.

Gift from Japan

It was just after lunch time. I was sitting in the hollow of the sheltered triangular tiny garden for a short while when I saw them at their back.

tea garden inis meain

Triangular garden

green gate aran islands

Green Gate

They were with the three of them. One man carrying a rucksack on his back and two women. We exchanged a few words and then the man asked me if I recognized them… I felt somewhat embarrassed because at first glance I did not. However, it was while I was thinking my head off that I saw one of the women pointing at the shawl she was wearing. ”Sure, and welcome back”, I said. Memories of last year came back to me. At that time it was a warm and sunny afternoon in July and the four of us were having tea together in Tigh Cháit. It was here too that this very shawl was bought and taken to somewhere in Japan!

It has been a long tradition already that people come all the way from Japan to the Islands of Aran. Initially it was the knitting, I suppose, what made these people coming up. The intriguing way of putting the various stitches into a pattern as done by the women of these islands, was probably one of the main reasons for a lot of Japanese to come and find out more about this craft by taking lessons on knitting by women on these islands.

However, this time, as it was last year as well, I heard, these three young people came to the Isles of Aran with another purpose as they told me now. Two of them are actual cousins and were asked by their granddad (aged 87) to fulfill here his mission: bringing back forestry to the land and to the people in order to restore balance in nature.

tree

Gifts from Japan

Japaneese-tree-aran-islands

Gifts from Japan

That same evening seven little seedlings of the conifer were planted in the churchyard of Inis Meáin. The mutual connectedness is expressed in the writing on the box “Japmaan”.

japmaan

Japmann

Slán go fóill,

Elisabeth from Inis Meáin.

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Expectation

It was a lovely idea to start the plane service to the Aran Islands in the seventies of the past century. It is not only that it brings you in seven or eight minutes to the island of your preference, but the exciting experience around it as well: the expectation what am I going to experience in the nearest future of a couple of minutes and beyond?

inis meáin from the air

A lovely welcome to Inis Meáin from the sky

spring-connemara-aran islands

Early spring

sprinf inis meain

Early Spring

A few weeks ago when the air temperature got higher and the days grew longer  the first preparation for the growing season became visible. While walking on the island I saw farmers inspecting their garraí  (enclosure/garden). Some days later there were more people working in their garden, getting rid of the overgrown bushes of brambles for example. People were also busy preparing the earth for putting in the fertilizer later on. A long list of generations yet has prepared their gardens like this. It is with a spade only that the farmers prepare the soil for growing (mainly) potatoes. First of all the farmer prepares long and narrow stretches of soil with the same space in between. Then a good amount of seaweed is brought up whereupon the soil which sometimes is mixed with the soil from the beach, is put on top of the two long stretches. Which leads to one wide stretch covering the seaweed. In this way the salted seaweed is prevented from drying out by the sun.

garraí-inis meain

Gradually I saw more often tractors coming up and down from Caladh Mór (the beach on the northern side of Inis Meáin) collecting feamainn (seaweed) and transporting it to the gardens. As probably with everything in life, it is choosing the right moment  which is important. Not too soon but not too late either.  With this the circumstances of the sea has to be taken into account as well before you are sure of the best fertility of the seaweed.

At this moment a lot of the work is done and I can enjoy looking  upon lovely  garraí waiting for the sun to come to fulfill the farmers’ expectation.

In the mean time a twin of sheep was born yesterday evening. With excitement jumping through the field and full of expectation of what their future on Inis Meáin will bring.

sheep-aran-islands

Just Born

Slán go fóill,

Elisabeth from Inis Meáin.

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Endurance-Inis Meáin

 

The attitude of being able to endure we are taught from the moment we are born. We have to wait until our mother is prepared to feed us… When we are getting older the grownups put up borders for us in order  to give us the chance to deal with the attitude towards endurance. They tell us e.g.  that there are so and so many nights to go of sleeping until… It helps us to provide structure for our thinking of time. When time is divided into little parts, it looks as if the total duration of time is shortened. During our life time there are many occasions we have to deal with endurance. The attitude of not saying straight away what you think about something or somebody but just wait and see how it works out… Or our way of acting in specific situations: are we able to sit / stand aside and reflect, before we start acting?

There is at least one period of time during the year in which we speak of endurance. For many people this is the time after Fall. Actually, the period between Fall and Mid Winter. Days are shortening. The light of the sun is waning and the quantity of sunshine is gradually diminishing.  During this period there is more often aimsir bristeach(broken weather) as well. We easily develop the tendency towards hibernating, like some animals do.

Trust in Life

Now we are challenged how to deal with this, how to endure. Are we able to keep upright and look for something / someone to get our inspiration from in order to face the darkness around us? Here on Inis Meáin I get inspiration to go through the darkness by going outside, wandering around. I put my attention on one specific limestone formation during a couple of minutes, every day at the same time. In the course of time I see a change in the formation.

The changing limestone.

 

The changing limestone of winter

It becomes more intense and deeper of colour. I feel I have a connection with this piece of limestone. I am in it!

This is my way of getting inspired, my means to endure.

Slán go fóill,

Elisabeth from Inis Meáin.

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 ANAMCHARA RETREAT INIS MEÁIN