Saturday, 31 July 2010

Scenes From The Moth House.

We are away in the north-west again, so this is a short post to let you see something I've been up to over the last little while.

It's a little place of photos and words. Of little vignettes and quiet corners from a place in my head, a place I call The Moth House. Of significant, and also small, happenings there, the wanderings and musings and sad reveries of its occupants, The Lovers.
You can visit it here: The Moth House.

I hope you like it!

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

The Place Of Great Importance.

Thoughts on time spent with family in a childhood haunt.

What happens when time forgets itself?

When you are suspended, and all around you grows still, but the little voices echo clear as the sweetest bell in memories ear, and suddenly the lines are blurred and it no longer matters if you are the child or the child is yours?
What happens when you realise it may just be a mirror you are looking through, and the woman is no longer your mother, but you?

And the sigh that escapes your grateful mouth is caught on the stories that you now long to tell for nothing more than the reward of expanding their world a little more, and the secret pleasure of seeing their eyes seeing you anew.

And in all of this there are things that your heart beats to the time of:
the clamour of those dearest of voices, the flurry of so many with so much to share.

The cautious exploration and testing of unfamiliar waters, at times tentative, and sometimes explosive. And you stand back willingly as they find their own little pathways in this place you have brought them, as they forge new routes on their maps.

  The deep thinking of the solo sailor as he searches for his true course, touching base now and then to share his quiet, self-conscious laughter and hesitant purpose, so painfully familiar to you as though it were your own again.

And the chance to just pause and lie still and close your eyes and listen to the wind in the trees and the murmur of voices and to have nowhere to be.

And so you walk when you feel like it, meandering together with no purpose other than to be in one another's company, along pathways that are held somewhere in your collective memory, and through trees that have born witness to many histories.

And somewhere in the gathering is the still point, the quiet place that holds everything you all remember.

Photo by My Only Girl, age 12.
And though it is just another moment in time, you are standing together, choosing the bright new threads to add to this weave you are part of, your tiny part of this family history that goes back into the mists of time, each thread an essential thread, strong and full of purpose, and each one equally as vital as the next.

 And you take your little child by the hand, show him how it is this story is woven together with many hands and hearts.

And somewhere along the way you let them go, knowing their map overlaps with yours, knowing their threads are firmly caught. You let them go, a little at a time, in the certainty that those threads will never break. And that someday they will hold out their hand, and a child will ask to hear their story, will ask to know their place in it all.

For isn't this is the reason you came here? I see it so clearly now.

Time forgets itself so you can tighten all the knots.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

The Little Ghosts Of Summers Past.

This weekend we will be returning to an old haunt of ours. A very special place that we hold dear in our hearts. A place we knew so well as children, and have magical memories of.

Lough Key Forest Park 1976.

A place we returned to year after year, for as long as we could remember, up until we were briefly too cool to go and the spell was broken for a while.

Lough Key Forest Park, 1980.

A place that lent itself to the idyll that is a child's imagination, that made books like 'Swallow's and Amazon's' and The Famous Five come to life.

Lough Key Forest Park 1980.

We were Kings of the Castle, Lord's of the Lake. We tramped through the mud, the mizzling rain, we ran the gamut of possibilities that this kind of freedom allows.

Lough Key Forest Park 1976.

And though these holiday's ingrained in me a love of eating outdoors, a dread of Monopoly and Scrabble, and a love/dread of camping in general, this lake and land of memories never fails to cast it's spell.

Lough Key Forest Park 1980.

And so this weekend we will return once again, with all the additions to our ever growing family, in the hopes that it becomes, for the next generation, the Place Of Great Importance that it was for us.

Monday, 19 July 2010

The League Of Extraordinary Kinship.

Family: a person or people related to one and so to be treated
with a special loyalty or intimacy.

We have had a special week.
A week with a very definite theme that has the title 'Family'. The far-flung kind of family, the ones we never see enough of. And the closer ones we never see enough of either. There was a birthday party with a lot of reacquainting and catching up, with distant cousins and great-aunts, and people traveling from far and wide. And it was a heartening affair, and such a treat to have a party and a get-together that was not a wedding or a funeral!

We did manage one day at the beach with our French cousins, and the sun came out and we even had another gathering that evening as more cousins arrived from Galway and we sat late into the night chatting. And I don't think there is anything else I love more than the bustle of many people in the kitchen, preparing food, gathering around the table together and sharing. Teenagers, toddlers, parents, aunts and uncles and cousins.

And although the sun shone for the first few days it did become patchy and their holiday ended up (as was perfectly phrased on a postcard home) one third sunny, one third cloudy, and one third rainy. A perfect Irish summer.

So on the rainy days, which coincided with my car breaking down and being unavailable for almost three days, the children made gingerbread men, and played trains, and went swimming, and in between showers ran around the garden, and had quiet games in corners of the house. And overall, ten people in the house for a week was surprisingly easy and trouble free.

And on their last day we had another family gathering, this time in the new, almost finished house of my brother and his girlfriend. And oh what pleasure I took nosing around, loving the smell of new paint and wood and the atmosphere of new beginnings and the end of a long slog that is renovating a house.

There are the most beautiful and sweet details that beg to tell a story, if only we could hear. And I could spend forever peeking and poking and musing about long forgotten conversations and dreams and tears that must have passed under this roof in times gone by.

And what new dreams are being lived out here now? And what the future holds can only be wondered at, a new home the perfect place to begin a new chapter. And someday it too will be part of someone's story.

And as we gather, we chat and plan a plan that has been talked about for many a month, and which we will actually get to fulfill next weekend, all going to, well, plan! And I look forward to sharing it with you all in a few installments over the next week.

So, amidst all the visitors, the parties, the planning and assembling, we are thrilled have new neighbours in the nearest house to ours, and these new neighbours also happen to be some of our dearest friends, and...cousins!

And I won't begin to tell you the scheming and dreaming that is going on between these two little houses!

Thursday, 8 July 2010

The Pause Between Breaths.

These days have fled for a while, it seems. The sun tucked away in the clouds to rest, and we carry on, just grateful for the warmer air and the time to just while away.

We have some visitors coming this weekend, all the way from Paris. So we anticipate a week ahead of hanging out and chatting and eating, and I do hope a day or two like this.

So, I don't know how much blogging will get done next week, but I'll do my best. And in the meantime, one thing I'm sure I'll be able to manage is the newly-reborn A Year At My Back Door. I decided to resurrect this blog over a year after finishing up, when I realised that I have been taking these pictures all the time anyway! How could I not?

Just pictures. And one view. But ever changing, often magical, and sometimes breath-taking.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

A Notorious Trifle, The Weather.

The creeping green has taken hold, and Summer has taken us by surprise.
So although the clouds may roll and threaten with thunderous yellow light
we stand our ground. We do.

So that even when it darkens and blows, we don't hold our breath and wait for the inevitable rain, because there is merit in learning the art of ignoring the weather at a young age.
For when you live in a temperate isle like ours that is what we do. And we perfect the art of pretending we don't!

So, we talk about the weather a lot, as it changes and sweeps and blows around us, never deciding what it is, whether one thing or another, but never ever giving in to it. 

Which is why we will never dress for it. Because the Irish will never admit someone else was right. And we will look a raincloud in the eye and shake our heads and say 'Not at all. Sure a t-shirt will do just fine...'

And of course, often, half an hour later (though soaked to the skin) we are right...