I will go to the woods again soon, but not yet.
|Distant Benbulben and Knocknarea across the bay|
We had to pick up a trailer-load of logs from Charlie, so we went to Portavad, a beach we rarely visit as it's further away. It was beautiful. Quiescent. Perhaps because it isn't imbued with memories of other walks.
A ghost-less beach.
We went there again today, to take the trailer back.
It's where the sea comes into the estuary at Ballysadare, so the roar of the ocean is muted, and the water laps calmly along the shell-littered shore. A short distance out, seals flop on the sandbanks, and Sligo's iconic mountains lounge just the other side of the bay.
There was no one else there.
A spit of land, rough with marram grass, stretches for a mile or so, the sea and the beach on one side, a shallow lagoon and pasture on the other. Cattle and sheep graze there, and one or two fishing boats keel into the muddy flats when the tide is out.
Model Dog, true to her name, is not interested in the sheep or the cattle. She spent a good while tossing a piece of dried up seaweed around and catching it, like a shuttlecock, trashing the smooth sand.
Afterwards, she watched the geese and oystercatchers along the shoreline, and stared intently across the water, no doubt seeing the dogs and walkers strolling the wide beach on the far side of the bay better than we could. To us, they were just moving dots below the sharp, sun-drenched dunes under Knocknarea.
|Beautiful Model Dog|
It was very peaceful as we strolled along, picking up pieces of sea glass and looking through our binoculars at the heron, the distant walkers and a lone seal periscoping up through the swell in the middle of the bay. Two men were painting the hull of their fishing boat in the lagoon.
A quiet way to end the year.
A year that, like all years, has been a bit of a lucky dip.
On the way back, a rainbow arched its way across the bay and plunged into the sea. There are many rainbows here, but they never cease to be special and they always catch at me, always make me stop and look.
They are filled with promise. They light up the heart with hope.
Early this morning, as I walked through the cool, damp orchard, something crunched lightly under my feet.
It was the tips of the new daffodil leaves, piercing up through the grass.
And under the copper beech, the first snowdrops are already in flower.
'Nothing is certain, only the certain Spring.' *
The certain Spring - and the belief that no matter how hopeless things seem, there is always hope.
Happy New Year
|The first snowdrops|
* from The Burning of the Leaves by Lawrence Binyon