Between Midnight and Dawn: Being a Flower in the Green

patrickscathedral
St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Ireland
stpatrickgrave
St. Patrick’s grave marker

Be still, and know that I am God…
Psalm 46:10

Be still and know that I am God.
Be still and know that I am.
Be still and know.
Be still.
Be.

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
~St. Patrick

 

Six years a slave, and then you slipped the yoke,
Till Christ recalled you, through your captors cries!
Patrick, you had the courage to turn back,
With open love to your old enemies,
Serving them now in Christ, not in their chains,
Bringing the freedom He gave you to share.
You heard the voice of Ireland, in your veins
Her passion and compassion burned like fire.

Now you rejoice amidst the three-in-one,
Refreshed in love and blessing all you knew,
Look back on us and bless us, Ireland’s son,
And plant the staff of prayer in all we do:
A gospel seed that flowers in belief,
A greening glory, coming into leaf.
~Malcolm Guite  — A St. Patrick Sonnet

 

St. Patrick is little remembered for his selfless missionary work in Ireland in the fifth century, but rather has become a caricature of all the drunken silliness of this day.  Visiting his grave in Ireland, a humble stone on a hill top overlooking the sea, I wondered what he would make of the modern March 17.

He would advise us to be still and know.

He would plant his staff in us and all we do; we would respond by flowering up from the green.

 

dandeclover2

morningclover

patrickcathedral2

 

 

 

All the World is Leafy Green

beechtrail

darkhedges2boost

Some of the most powerful memories of summer come out of our childhood when we wake up on a June morning and suddenly remember that school is out and that summer stretches in front of us as endlessly as the infinities of space. Everything is different. The old routines are gone. The relentless school bus isn’t coming. The bells will be silent in silent hallways. And all the world is leafy green, and will be green, forever and ever.
~Ray Bradbury

lochlomond5

mournemountainmeadow

 

Summer Silence

pastoralpond

“Summer makes a silence after spring.”
– Vita Sackville-West

As we bid farewell to England, Scotland and Ireland today, leaving mild temperatures in the 50’s to go to atypical temperatures in the 90’s at home,  summer will be hitting us with a surreptitious sledge hammer when we disembark in Seattle.   Hay will be ready to pick up in the fields and we will return to work within hours of getting off the plane.  But even with the responsibilities we reassume, we will know the joy of a house filled with our (now adult) children and friends from all over the world.

Life is rich with memories tightly woven into the tapestry of our everyday routine.   I will look back on this special time with Dan with fond remembrance for new friends discovered, amazing places experienced,  all the while blessed by returning home together to everyone we hold so dear.   Summer may be silent after spring but it is brimming with blessings.

willowfencedan

 

 

waterlilies2

causeway3

coastalsheep2

curiousgroundcoverdumprake

dunlucecastle

tapestry

scotlandkirkbride

lilyvalley

askriggchurch

darkhedgesantique

A Mourne Kind of Morning

mournemountains1

I have seen landscapes [in the Mourne Mountains] which, under a particular light, made me feel that at any moment a giant might raise his head over the next ridge.
~C.S. Lewis

The Mournes have a mystical quality to them, bewitching the traveler and inspiring C.S. Lewis as a child growing up near here to create Narnia as an adult.

We have seen these mountains silhouetted in the distance, and have driven through them, descending into coastal villages surrounded by miles and miles of stone fences checker boarding the farmland.

We need to always keep wonder close at hand and never cease to wonder at the fairy tales in our own back yard.

mournewalls

mournemountainmeadow

mournemountains4mournemountains3mournemountains2

The World is Wondrous Large

Legananny Dolmen, Northern Ireland
Legananny Dolmen, Northern Ireland
legananny3
yes, this dolmen is in the middle of a farm yard

legananny1

In the Neolithic Age savage warfare did I wage For food and fame and woolly horses’ pelt.

I was singer to my clan in that dim, red Dawn of Man, And I sang of all we fought and feared and felt.

Still the world is wondrous large,—seven seas from marge to marge— And it holds a vast of various kinds of man… ~Rudyard Kipling from “In a Neolithic Age”

Today we acted like archeologists in Northern Ireland, traveling the countryside looking for the numerous “dolmens” or stone formations from 4000-5000+ years ago constructed during the Neolithic period in human history.  These are considered “portal tombs” and like Stonehenge, may also have astrologic significance to these prehistoric peoples.  Interestingly, they are scattered across the Irish countryside, mostly found in farmyards and fields, with hardly a sign to show the way to find them.  In two cases, we needed to parkbeside a barn, open  (and close) several gates so the cows and sheep don’t get out,  to make our way to the dolmen.

The world is wondrous large indeed, as Kipling says in his homage to the Neolithics (and in the rest of the poem critiquing his fellow “modern” man).  To think that humans, way before the pyramids, way before Abraham walked the earth, managed to figure out how to honor their dead by constructing formations of multi-ton stones on top of one another.  They are so perfectly balanced to exist as they were intended for thousands of years.  A vast various kind of man did this, a singer to his clan, in the “red dawn” of human history.

I am awed and humbled.

Nothing I have done could ever last like this.

kilfeaghandolmen3  

Kilfeaghan Dolmen
Kilfeaghan Dolmen
This dolmen is above the Irish Sea
This dolmen is above the Irish Sea
Goward Dolmen at the foot of the Mourne Mountains
Goward Dolmen at the foot of the Mourne Mountains