Sunday, January 05, 2014


As promised to calendar holders. I am writing the story behind each month's calendar photo this year.
The crowning glory of "my traveling year" 2013 was returning to Ireland.  It did my heart good to touch that land again, to rejoin Dublin and find it thriving and vital as ever.  I confess I'd been anxious in anticipation of the reunion.  What would I feel?  How would I feel? 

Being, living again (oh so briefly this time) in this city where I had started a happy new life, this city that I once called home, pulled at the heartstrings for sure.  Still, I couldn't get at it fast enough.  I had but three days in Dublin; the rest of my time would be spent traveling the countryside. A delay checking in, a problem with my reservation, had me antsy.  I wanted to be outside, walking, not standing at the reception desk sorting it out. 

I'd known it long before setting off on this trip:  I wanted to see, to touch it all with my eyes and with my feet.  Forget sightseeing or shows or events or such.  I just wanted to walk, all of my favorite walks--and there were many!  This pretty much meant covering the map:  Ringsend, Ballsbridge, Donnybrook; Temple Bar, Capel Street, Pearse; Trinity, Bewleys, Stephen's Green; Baggot Street, Mount Street, the Grand Canal.  And of course I would visit my favorite park in Merrion Square--twice!

I'd been more than four years away; what of the Dublin I knew would remain, I wondered? For all I knew, everything had changed, and very little would be as I remembered it. To my surprise, much was just as I'd left it.  Even more surprising was how it all came back:  my brain map proved keen.  I found myself anticipating a pub or a shortcut here, a shop or restaurant there just before coming upon it.  Approaching the National Concert Hall, I remembered a rose garden nearby that I never did see in bloom.  Though I'd only ever been to it once or twice, I followed my nose along the neighboring streets and walked right to it.  This happened again and again.  It amazed me how well I still knew Dublin, that the Dublin I knew remained.  

It seemed nothing had faded from memory, perhaps least of all the Oriel Gallery.  Like so many addresses I delighted to rediscover, I hadn't planned to look it up; I only remembered it, and affectionately so, as I turned the corner from the historic, very Georgian and comely Merrion Square onto Clare.  I'm sure I smiled when I saw it, glowing like an ember--orange and black--in the city shadows, inviting as ever.

Seeing the Oriel was like finding an old friend.  How many times in that year had we passed here on our way to and from the City Center?  Tons!  And usually without a moment to spare, rushing to meet friends or to make a film at the IFI.  But whether or not my feet could pause, my eyes always did, to take in the striking showcased display of fine Irish art, especially the stunning Sandra Bell sculptures and the permanent stained glass window valance, my favorites. says:

No trip [to the Oriel] would be complete without taking the time to appreciate the stunning stained-glass windows adorning the gallery front by one of Northern Ireland's most famous painters, Markey Robinson.
Agreed!  These panels caught my attention at first glimpse.  My American eyes found them unquestionably Irish, portraying a distinctly Irish story of a land, its people, and a life of passage and prevailing.

I did photograph The Oriel that Dublin year, but never the detail of the panels for some reason.  This trip I remedied that.  I wasn't sure what I would get.  The light was not quite right.  But I tried, and I am pleased to have succeeded.  A favorite piece of Dublin would return with me in my pocket, along with all that had been rekindled in my heart.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

New for 2014

Happy New Year!  Ready or not, here we are.  Hello January.  

I have a little New Years gift for you.  The idea for this presented itself to me as I completed the Language of Love Calendar 2014.  I felt the desire to share more than what a caption or key could tell of the images I selected.  Maybe because 2013 was "my traveling year," I don't know.  Whatever the reason, in my letter to calendar holders, I promised something new:
Each photo has its own story of course:  a picture is worth a thousand words.  I have decided that in 2014 I will share the story of each image month by month on Love's Freeway.  So if you are curious to know more about any of the images, do stop by and read all about it! 
There is certainly a story behind every image on Love's Freeway.  For this year, I promise to tell at least twelve of them.  Calendar holders, you'll know which ones! 

In the meantime, I am wishing you great stories of your own this year.  Have you set your intention(s) yet?  I did so quite spontaneously when I wrote this on New Year's Eve:

Farewell to the best year of my life.
Hello to the best year of my life!
How glad I am that you are a part of it.