As promised to calendar holders. I am writing the story behind each month's calendar photo this year.
When I'm traveling, it's truly enough for me just to be in a place in this world that's new to me. There is discovery at every turn, something refreshing to the eyes--to all the senses. I am not compelled to hit the sights, to follow well-worn tracks. I wander, and find treasure at every turn. Like Mullaghmore, Ireland, for example, which I happened upon last September. I'd taken the coastal route north toward Donegal, and turned out onto a peninsula at about Cliffony or so--I think to stay as close as I could to the "flaggy shore." It's Seamus Heaney who put the bee in my bonnet to take such a drive:
And some time make the time to drive out west
Into County Clare, along the Flaggy Shore,
In September or October, when the wind
And the light are working off each other...
excerpted from Postscript, in THE SPIRIT LEVEL
This was Sligo, not Clare, but no matter: I did come, I did "make the time to drive out west." And I was richly rewarded. Mullaghmore is a "destination," come to find out. (But what square inch on this earth isn't, it occurs to me.) For surfers particularly: it is reportedly one of the best "big wave" surfing spots in the world! I learned this when I went hunting for its name, which (sadly) I'd forgotten. I see this seaside village is written up as "unusually undisturbed, a world away from the hustle and bustle of life." I can attest! But simply meeting it with no idea about the place was delightful. I paused, stopped, touched my feet to it, however briefly. I was charmed--not the least by a cat in meatloaf position sleeping in a window box (who I unfortunately roused with my approach--the better to portrait, though!). I had no reason to be in Mullaghmore. But way leads on to way: the road brought me there for a relative speck of time and gave me treasure: yellow-mustard door, white cat, blue pots, reflected sea and sky. It gave me delight I delight to share