Sunday, 22 July 2012


Knocknarea in a silver sea

I was thinking about variety today. How rich and diverse everything is. So many different plants, and landscapes - personalities - friends.
It was the friends that started the thought process.
Each friendship is a microcosm - a spectrum - all of its own, containing the same essential elements as others perhaps, but different dynamics, different points of contact, different anchorings.
And each is indispensable to the nurturing of our wellbeing, the feeding of our souls.
And through some indefinable, blind instinct, we turn to the friend who can give us what we need precisely when we need it.

Rosa Crazy For You

I poured out my heart to someone this morning - someone who becomes increasingly dear the more I get to know her. It was a moment of spontaneity - an unexpected outburst that tapped into a slowly, oh-so-slowly healing well of distress that lies very shallowly buried beneath my surface.

I felt afterwards that I had burdened her with something that burdens me, and apologised.
She smiled and shook her head. 'Don't! You haven't!' she said.
She hugged me tightly, and I know she meant it.
She wasn't burdened, but I have felt lighter all day for the loss of it, for the release.
How grateful I am.
And blessed.
Little by little, the healing steals in like winter sunlight - barely discernible, but effective, and, ultimately, self-perpetuating. 


And this afternoon another friend's words came to mind.
While I was out replenishing the sadly depleted garden tool department - there is only so much you can achieve with a one-pronged fork and holey gloves - I inevitably got waylaid by the glorious plants on offer.
I have always found that the plant-buying triangle loops nose-to-tail as surely as night follows day.
First there is the delight at discovery, then there is the glorious vision of the plant embellishing your very own garden, and later there is invariably the pang of guilt when you remember those imminent household bills whose budget you have just wantonly slashed.
I confided this to my friend a year or two ago.
'Don't,' she said. 'Your garden is your art. You have to let it out.'
And she was right.
I'm not the quickest, but there is one thing I have learned, which is that we stopper our creativity at our peril.
I believe it's the cause of half the frustration and unhappiness in the world.

Peruvian lily

Years ago, a third friend said something to me that I have consciously tried to take to heart ever since.
I haven't always been successful, but there's no doubt in my mind that she went right to the crux of it.
'Don't worry about anything as trivial as money,' she said.
Neither of us had any money at the time, and still don't. Like most people in Ireland, I'm constantly going through my coat pockets in the hope of finding a fiver and always grateful beyond words for any windfall that keeps me afloat, but that's missing the point of what she meant.

It took me awhile to 'retrain' myself  - I remember well the nights I used to spend lying awake grinding my teeth over finances. I still worry about all kinds of other rubbish, but I've just about got there on the money bit.
Somehow the electricity bill will get paid. Maybe we'll have to live on beans on toast for awhile - again. (It's known as a Gourmet Treat in our house.) Maybe we'll end up selling all our worldly goods at a carboot sale, but ultimately, which is more important? Something that makes your heart sing, or all the bills paid?

Life is short, and as far as I can make out, richness isn't about money, it's about the simple, beautiful, ordinary things and people that surround us. It's about walking round my garden with my first cup of tea and enjoying every new flower. Perhaps that all sounds a bit naive or twee, but I think the key to being happy and fulfilled has little to do with hard currency, it's about doing the thing I was born to do. I am a writer and I love gardens. Those two things are what give me equilibrium, and it doesn't matter if I have spent the electricity money on a new rose or a purple passion flower. Just as it doesn't matter that I have written this post instead of clearing up the kitchen and getting supper ready. Getting in a tizz about the ups and downs of everyday life is so easy, but it's the surest way I know of neutering the creative spirit - the individual, intrinsic, elusive essence that waits in each of us to be discovered and used.

So, dear friends, how glad I am to have you.
I think it must be because of you that when I can't sleep in the wee small hours, I don't lie in bed wrestling the black dog that walks the night, I get up and join my own, real, sleeping hounds in the kitchen, put the kettle on and write, or immerse myself in a book of other people's inspirational gardens - sometimes for hours on end. I often feel quite tired the next day, but not fraught, or hunted, or guilty! And little by little, the hurts we all carry can be healed, and nothing is wasted, nothing is lost. Every part of our life has a bearing on what we produce.

Don't is generally considered a negative command, but sometimes it takes a friend to turn it into a life-line of positivity.
Thank you, dear friends.

Purple Passion Flower


  1. I think I have to print this out and carry it around with me. Damn that I think a trip to Sligo will not be possible next week. The whole money thing terrifies me, but you are right, riches do not bring happiness. Bravery is hard to learn I find.

    1. I think we are all conditioned to be terrified of money - or rather moneylessness. I have spent so much time being so broke that I truly think the panic wears off. But I have consciously tried to take my friend's advice on board - What is the point of worrying? It achieves nothing. I know that sounds rather arrogant, but I don't mean it to. It just seems there are so many more worthwhile ways to use the energy.

  2. This is a lovely, compelling piece. Thank you for sharing.

    My fella and I long ago agreed that money is just Monopoly money. It comes and goes, but it's not what matters. We were minus broke some years ago and while it was very stressful, that time later showed us that we were OK anyway, despite not having jingling stuff in our pockets and paper in our wallets.

    Since I am living closely to the warmth and wisdom of friends right now, your post reminded me to keep doing so until I'm ready to fly again. Thanks for skipping the dishes!

    1. Thank you, and so nice of you to leave a comment. Yes, I agree with what you say about money. It is stressful when things get bad - which they often do - but you learn to appreciate things so much more when everything is hard to come by, and yes, like you, we learned to appreciate each other and how well off we were in other ways. Thats when you look for ways of enjoying life that don't cost, and thats how you find the stuff really worth having. Looking back, some of the happiest times were when we were on our uppers. Do you remember that song: 'I miss the hungry years'?

  3. What a lovely blog.

    At the end of it all, human relationships are what
    count, family and friends and, to quote Rupert Brooke

    "and laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
    In hearts at peace, under an English heaven"

    Which actually sums up my day!!!


  4. Lorely, thank you for that personable honesty.v much appreciated and heard. xC

  5. What a lovely post, a gentle and very true reminder of how precious it is to have friends to remind us of what is really important, to lighten the load even if for a little while, to share with. Without my friends, I would be missing a most important part of my life.

    1. Thank you, and yes - what would life be without our friends! I am starting to count you as one of them!

  6. Your blog is magic..
    And uplifting...
    Like oceans creatures...
    It turns my nightime...into day..
    And left me with these words to say...
    That out of lifes plod..
    And lifes mire..
    To see the land of hearts desire..
    In font..
    On my computer screen...
    If you haven't seen it...
    You haven't seen....
    It's something special..
    For the soul...
    It brings together..
    Just what would Queen Maeve..
    Think of it...
    The flowers...
    The fauna..
    Each bit...
    By bit...
    As she lays sleeping ...
    In her tomb..
    Like a ghost...
    Within a ghostly womb...
    My words..
    I must admit..
    A sligo cupid...
    Has scored a hit..
    And left me happy...
    Ironed out the bends..
    My flowers are singing..
    It's more than friends...
    So keep on blogging...
    Se what it's done...
    Write from the edge...
    It's cool..
    Its fun..

    1. Your comment has blown me away (rather like a Sligo gale!) - how wonderful to log in and find your lovely poem! Thank you - and thank you for loving my blog! I've had very little time these last few weeks, to sit down and scribble, but how wonderful to know that I have readers like you! You have brought a smile to my lips and given me a lift!

  7. your blog has become, day after day, a source of thought, of joy, of warmth-for-the-heart , and I'm very grateful to you for all this.
    I do deeply agree with what you say here. Only (I 'll make the devil advocate for a second) we musn't forget that - in this complicated and badly managed and ruled world - we need a minimum, even to be able to appreciate simple things. I mean, it is already something, and a big great something, to have the chance to live, say, in an environment that brings beauty, and freedom for the soul, for example in a house near or in the country (for me, for somebody else it will be something else too). I also live in a house with a garden, in the fringe of a delicious little town. And I can't help asking myself, if I got financially quite broke, and lost my work, and my house (which isn't paid for as yet) - well, all those things that are so important to me, the beauty of a garden flower, the freedom of my cats in the garden, all this and so many more ...well, how if I lost them ?
    (that was my anxious moment ^^) But you are right, the most important is yet elsewhere . I have marvellous friends too, and they are the roots, the flowers of my life.

    I would like to share with you these words read in a novel last year (I'll try to translate OK) : "there is only one thing in us that is eternal : the bonds which we have woven during our life. The bonds of love, of friendhip, of gentleness. These bonds don't die with us. Our relationship with the others is eternal"

    1. Thank you so much for your comment - I always love hearing from you, and you always say such nice things.

      I agree with your devil's advocate opinion. Yes, I am privileged because I live in a beautiful place and have a garden. But my house isn't paid for yet, either, and I am unemployed at the moment - however, you are right, I am not living in the middle of a big city, surrounded by noise and fear. Money IS important, because, since time began, we have all conspired to create a world in which it is predominant. I just feel that it is so easy to allow money - and the fear of it, the desire for it, the awe of it - to get in the way of things that actually matter more, and although it was difficult to take on board, my friend's advice was very liberating.

      I love the quote you included. Thank you for sending it. How true it is. I often think of love as a timeless force that doesn't fit into the boundaries we want to put on life and living. I think it works backwards, and forwards, and sideways, and is more powerful and compelling than we can ever understand.

      I wonder where you live in France - a country I love. Are you in Saintes, by any chance? We tried to move to Saintes a few years ago, but it was not to be...

    2. but yesssss I do live in Saintes - and we have a friend in common : Jane, who is my illuminating and celtic harp teacher ... (I discovered your blog through her)
      Well, anytime you'd like to drop by here, don't forget that we have a spare room ... (I prefer the french saying which is literally "a friends' room").


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