Saturday, April 11, 2009

Flora and Fauna

The wild primrose have come into bloom. A pale greenish yellow blossom with a brighter yellow center, they cluster on the banks along the road. When we arrived last week the gorse was just coming on. I remember gorse from my hiking in southern England in 1992; if one saw its bush sans flowers one wouldn’t believe such a stubborn scratchy looking plant could every be host to such abundant bright yellow flowers. But the blooms cover the countryside in spring. Often they grow along fencelines and so the routing of stone walls that travel up and down hillsides gets a bright yellow highlighter this time of year. I can see the beginnings of wild irises in the muddy spots along the road. David says that just west of here all of the green and flowers disappear and the landscape is more desolate and brown. I haven’t ventured in that direction yet. My runs, walks, and trips to Ballina via car and bus keep me in this greening corner of County Mayo.

The cows, horses and sheep in the fields surrounding Ballycastle are thriving. I’ve reinforced the reputation as an odd bird (initally in place because I go for runs) by singing to the animals. There are two bulls that graze in the field behind our house; I watch them as I do dishes and sing Neil Diamond to them. “Solitary Man” seems to please them. The paddocks of cows seem to like Beyonce, esp. when I dedicate “All The Single Ladies” to them. Finally there’s this one field of sheep that I run by that has all white sheep except for one black lamb and, I know it’s mean of me, but I sing that lamb “Love Child”.

The town is both busier and slower as Easter Weekend arrives. It’s a vacation destination for many in more urban areas of Ireland, so some of the cottages have people in them for the holiday. Meanwhile the small retail community shuts down. David had to do an under the counter candy bar purchase today, as Polke’s was closed but David caught the store owner as he was heading out. He gave David the candy bar but wouldn’t take money for it today since it was Good Friday.

This morning we went to Andrea, Randy and Soren’s house. They live a couple of miles west of town. We had house envy, as their place is much bigger than ours, with huge windows and gorgeous views of the water. The downside of their place is that one can’t easily walk from there to town. Ultimately I am glad we are where we are, even if the house is tiny and with small windows that let in little light. The boys played and argued over toys, then we all went for a walk to a nearby cemetery. The boys stomped about while the grown-ups read gravestones and imagined histories. A sudden rain shower bracketed by double rainbows had us hurrying back to their house for lunch. We then took our guys back home; I tucked them in for naps while David headed to the arts center for an afternoon of painting.


Beth said...

It sounds so lovely and so far away from "regular" life. Having spent time in the UK, I feel a tiny bit of familiarity. I know I just keep saying it over and over, but I'm so thrilled for you guys, for this gift of time and adventure. And what a treat for all of us who have a chance to read your beautiful writing regularly. Happy Easter, my dear friend. I"m off work this week b/c Eli is on break so I promise a true email soon. xoxoxo

DebKAtkins said...

Singing to the animals? What a great image! Next time I encounter the ducks along the canal, I'll have to think of a suitable melody for them. The cows across the street, too! You seem to have the right creative streak for coming up with appropriate tunes, so let me know if anything pops into your head.