Monthly Archives: February 2012

Up the airy mountain, down the fairy glen …

Fairy ring in Deer Park, Dublin, with Dublin Mountains in the background.

I went a walking and came across a fairy ring! The title of this post is from the first line of a poem written by William Allingham, which we had to learn in school.

On my way to work today, while passing through Deer Park, I came across a fairy ring. I have not seen one in a long time. I am aware of the fact that these rings occur as a result of a naturally occurring phenomenon, but there is still an aura of mysticism about them which makes me almost nostalgic for an era that is coming to an end in Ireland. Well, in the cities anyway. Nowadays, we cityfolk are all too busy to notice nature around us and are too easily distracted by work, deadlines, finances etc. However, in rural Ireland, fairy folklore is still rife.  

When I was young, there was a field behind my house in which there was a fairy fort.  Of course now, there is a housing estate built on top of it. The myth was that if one put a bottle of milk into the centre of the fort and left it there overnight, the milk would be rancid the next morning. We never played inside the fort for fear of being kidnapped by the fairies or ill-luck befalling us!

The Fairy Ring by George Cruikshank

The belief was that fairy rings were created by fairies dancing at night. The ground within the ring was considered dangerous. It was not thought  a wise decision to build upon this land. There are tales in Ireland of roads being re-routed to avoid building upon a fairy fort. Ireland is strewn with ancient structures such as these forts, megalithic tombs,  hawthorn trees etc. and the common belief was that it was best not to destroy them as the fairies would curse those who disturbed them.

What always disturbed me were the folktales which related how fairies would kidnap children in the middle of the night and replace that child with a fairy look-alike.  Irish literature is full of these incidents. William Butler Yeats writes in The Stolen Child:

Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

Instagram photo of the fairy ring with gloomy trees

However, on a  more uplifting note, I also came across snowdrops, which herald the true beginning of Spring.  I love the way the drooping flower looks like a lamb bowing its head!

Galanthus ‘snowdrop’
 
 
 
 
 

5 Comments

Filed under photography, research

Drawing

This is a little picture that Seren drew yesterday. I have been watching her develop her little tadpoles and smiley face techniques for a while now. She was always so proud of whatever she achieved on her own. For the last while Seren has been obsessed with colouring in large sheets of paper in a series of different colours and has abstained from caricatures. However, yesterday,  while I had my back turned, I could hear her chatting to herself while she was drawing. She seemed extremely involved and her sister, Olwyn, watched on curiously.  When I looked down at what Seren had drawn, this little person looked up at me. 20120214-215009.jpg

 I was told “this is Grossmami (a.k.a. Seren’s grandmother, who is Swiss). She is standing in a tunnel, where she is sheltering from the rain. The sun is coming out and a rainbow has appeared”.

I don’t think anything beats (for me anyway) watching a child grow and develop his/her ability to communicate and express him/herself,  be it through dance, drawing, painting, talking, singing, writing etc. A child’s imagination is a beauty to behold.

8 Comments

Filed under art, Family

Paths through mist

20120210-105827.jpg

I had a beautiful walk to work today. A heavy mist lay on the ground as I made my way through Deer Park. There is something magical about mist and the way it envelopes everything in its midst. The trees seemed like apparitions in the distance. Beings came through the thick curtain, as if emerging from an otherworldly realm.

I came to a fork in the path and it made me reflect on where I am in life and the paths I have chosen to take. For what purpose and to what end did I chose a specific path? The path I am on now seems particularly tough. I question myself is it the right one, not only for me but also for my family.

If I had not a care in the world, I would not fret about what path to choose but I want to make sure that the path I take leads to a better life for me, my husband and my children. Lewis Carroll makes it seem so easy in Alice in Wonderland. Alice comes to a fork in the road. “Which road do I take?” she asked. “Where do you want to go?” responded the Cheshire cat. “I don’t know,” Alice answered. “Then it doesn’t matter.” But every action causes consequences, and one must weigh all options and outcomes.

20120210-113005.jpg
Sometimes when Peter and I are up past midnight, while the children have been in bed for hours, and we try to complete assignments or write a chapter, we chuckle to ourselves. We may have chosen the right path but it sure wasn’t the easiest one. As the Zen proverb goes “The obstacle is the path”.

5 Comments

Filed under Motherhood

Sock puppets

I got the bright idea into my head the other day to make sock puppets with the kids. Considering that today was a rainy day, it provided me with the perfect opportunity to make them. Besides, I knew there was a special reason for keeping those odd socks.

The kids were very excited and intrigued when I told them that I had a button box. They loved sifting through the various types of buttons and choosing which ones to use as eyes and noses for their puppet. I roped Peter into making a puppet too. The table was littered with buttons, thread, felt and other bits and bobs.

After much finger pricking, and misplaced buttons, my little fellah, Mr Snufflepig, came to life.

20120204-215152.jpg
I had great fun playing with him and the girls. They were totally convinced that Mr Snufflepig was real and carried out conversations with him and gave him kisses and cuddles. It makes me appreciate what a genius Jim Henson was.

In the meantime, Peter was still sitting at the table, tongue stuck out in concentration, creating his little protege,
Mr Ruffdog

20120204-220750.jpg
I did make the children laugh but I will never be as good as Kevin Clash, what a legend!

3 Comments

Filed under Family

Sabbatical

20120202-114026.jpg

After many months of writer’s block, I have decided to re-enter into the realm of WordPress. Glad to be back :)

3 Comments

February 2, 2012 · 11:43 am