Wonders of Nature

Music To Our Ears

For the first time in months, there’s finally been enough rainfall to generate more than a wee trickle from the natural well that feeds our duck pond. Now that there’s a bit of water to spare, we can refill bins for watering the rest of the garden also. Yesterday’s rain was perfect. It started out light enough that the crumbly topsoil could well absorb it. This allowed the following hours of downpouring rain to infiltrate the soil deeply rather than just running off the earth’s surface, down to the sea.

Parts of Ireland have been experiencing a drought for the past few months. Here on the Aran Islands, we rely on rainfall to fill the tanks which provide household water. Since it hasn’t been raining and the supplies are so low, the water has been shut off in the evenings for a few weeks now. The thinking behind this decision is to ration water and also to stop any water waste that may be occurring from possible leaks in the lines.

When I walked out my front door last evening, it was both gratifying and magical to hear the rushing water added to the symphony of birdsong and rustling leaves played by nature.

Cheers, Melissa Xx

 

 “Nature’s music is never over; her silences are pauses, not conclusions.”     Mary Webb

Believing Something Great Is Out There

Did everyone see the brilliant full moon last evening? All in my house went to bed while it hung directly out our east facing window and woke with it directly out the one facing west. This amazed my children. While we lie sleeping, the earth was revolving around the sun as the moon revolved around the earth; they know this fact. Yet, it was still an altogether beautiful discovery this morning.

They gazed at the morning moon through a telescope received for Christmas from cousins in America. A treasured new gadget for their curiosity toolbox. An extension of their eye and of their imagination that gives a view to endless possibilities. They can’t get enough of it. Outside, inside, upstairs and down. ‘Are there stars out tonight?’ Sadly most nights have been cloudy so they’re practising patience while anticipation is building. This is a good thing.

Yesterday we had a light brushing of snow. I honestly saw none remaining on the ground within fifteen minutes of it falling for it was washed away by the drizzle that immediately followed. Don’t you know, hours after the snowfall when my children returned home from school, it took them no time at all to pack a half dozen large ziplock bags full for storing in one of our chest freezers.

I asked them why they wanted to save it. Aside from it ‘being cool’ it was also ‘to help us remember’. The last time we had any significant snowfall on the island was seven years ago so most of my children have little or no memory of it. At their current ages, they’ll surely never forget this adventure. But lest they forget the emotion of that afternoon’s mudlarking (or should I say snowlarking), they’ve bags of frozen-fingered memories at the ready.

Earlier tonight, while clipping my son’s fingernails and listening to him explain how he was writing a new season to the Lego Ninjago cartoon series, I praised him saying ‘The skies the limit!’ His reply? ‘No, it’s not Mom. There is no limit.’ Well, he certainly set me straight didn’t he?!

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This photograph of a rainbow over our next door neighbour’s house was taken this afternoon from an upstairs window of my own home. I was thinking to frame it (sans quote) and gift it to them. What do you think of that idea?

Celebrate the Seashore

Is it any wonder why so many of us flock to the seashore to exercise, socialize, relax, forage, and get creative? We are kindred spirits, sharing the allure of the seashore, feeling it’s magnetic pull, and knowing it’s something well worth honouring in celebration. It’s our happy place!

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The Mysterious Angle

 

What is the mysterious angle of the above photo?  I’ll give you a hint…the next photograph is of the same thing.

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And just because it’s cool, the following photograph is a view of our village taken from the same spot.

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The mysterious angle photograph was taken from atop the steep breakwater (2nd picture) with the camera on panoramic… sea to the left and lake to the right.  The mysterious angle photograph also works perfectly for this weeks photo word of the week, ‘mystery‘.

You must go and check out my friend Sandra’s ‘mystery‘ post.  Just incredible!!

Cheers, Melissa

Almost Home

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The Straw Island lighthouse in the background is a sure sign of nearly being home.

Dolphins swimming in the wake behind the ferry as it motored into Kilronan Harbour were an unexpected surprise for everyone travelling to the island last evening. Though not an unprecedented sight, it’s far from a common one, and even if it were, how could it not inspire the marvelous feelings of wonder and delight?

For a split second I had the thought to jump overboard and join the dolphins. I am not insane, so therefore I didn’t, but swimming in the sea surrounding the island brings me much comfort. I’ve said over and over, no matter what time of year or how cold it is, I’ve never regretted getting in for a swim. And I always take time to just float, amazed how I’m completely and effortlessly supported by the ocean while conscious of my relaxed muscles, relieved tensions, and a silence that imaginably could only be duplicated through deafness.

I hope everyone has a sense of what that’s like– being utterly unable to be anywhere except for the moment one is in.  That feeling came over me and caused me to pause while taking these photographs. I put down the camera and just stared at the actual visual reality.

I’m certain that this magical encounter was just the beginning of a memory making island adventure for most who were watching. That said, for me it was a reminder of home sweet home. I hardly needed another prompt– returning home after being away often feels like the highlight of the trip, back to my husband and children, animals and garden, work and friends, routine and familiarity.

My photography isn’t good enough to express the adjectives I was feeling and these pictures don’t speak a thousand words or even a small fraction of that, but still, I couldn’t resist sharing them and, in the process, reliving the moment for myself.

Happy weekend everyone!

Melissa Xx

It’s a Good Day to Have a Good Day

Every day won’t be the best ever, but there’s a best part to each and every day.  It may not be what you hope or expect.  In fact, better on these less than best (hard) days to stop expecting and instead wait with optimistic anticipation for the completely unexpected joys that appear out of seemingly nowhere from unlikely people, places, and things.

If there’s something ostensibly big keeping you from your joy, focus your attention on something small.  There are little miracles everywhere in nature just waiting to distract us from our thoughts of ourselves and our worries…

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A Fresh & Frosty Morning

We had frost earlier this week on the island and I couldn’t resist the urge to go out and see it up close.  It’s rare here and it made me a bit homesick.  I didn’t pay it nearly as much notice when living back in Maine where it’s a normal part of winter.

Why does frost make the air feel fresher?  Does it kill off lingering germs from a cough and flu like I imagine?  Are carrot fly and slug larvae defeated before the warmer seasons incubate them?  It definitely improves the flavour of some vegetables still in the garden.  These random thoughts went through my mind while on an early morning dog walk, happy for the sunshine, but also racing to beat it to the frosty foliage…

 

A Day of Gathering

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It was perfectly calm on both Inis Mor and across the bay in Connemara today. With storms dropping nearly 3 1/4″ of rainfall this month, the cloudless sky and calm seas were most welcome.  I thought about recording the morning bird song but decided to just relax and enjoy.

Johnny and I went clamming around midday but had no luck.  The gentle breeze was pushing the water towards the shore just enough that the tide line was never quite low enough.  Instead, I gathered shells to make a mosaic and he harvested mussels for dinner, a nice substitute for the razor clams.

A few years ago Johnny and the children made mosaics and one of their pieces of art has since dwelled in our garden.  Yesterday I noticed it’s even more beautiful because of moss growing in the furrows and that’s what inspired me to make another.  I also have a bucket of tile and sea glass to create mosaic with that we’ve all collected over many years.

Afterwards, I cut willow to make something artistic for the outside front wall of the house. Remember our autumn bird feeder wreath and the Christmas wreath?  They were both made from the same willow base which is now stored in the shed until next autumn.  I’m hoping to make a St. Brigid’s cross for the spring.  I say hoping because the willow may not be pliable enough to completely fold onto itself without snapping.  We’ll see.  If that doesn’t work, I have a plan B.  I’ll know more this week when I give it a try and will tell how it goes.  Here are some pictures of the St. Brigid’s cross I made for inside our house a week and half ago aside the fresh cut willow, and a chicken.
Of all the things we gathered today, we are feeling fortunate that rain was not one of them.  It was a much needed day of complete sunshine, the first we’ve had in months.  It really lifted our spirits to spend the entire day outside.
I hope wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, your day is going (or went) just wonderfully.
Good night and sweet dreams my friends!
Melissa Xx

Our Jolly Holly Christmas Tree

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I believe we all know the feeling of when something is not quite right.  The feeling grows and grows until you decide assertively (sometimes in a matter of seconds) that “No, this just won’t do.”   Continue reading

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