06 July 2007
NORTHERN IRELAND: DAY ONE
What day is it?...I think it's Monday the 25th. Wow. I'm in Ireland. After running into the ever-ebullient Donnie (a.k.a. Supermort) with his FlyBar at the Dublin airport and boarding the smart coach that carried us safely north to Newcastle, here I am, sitting on a little wooden bench on the back lawn of the Murlough House (pronounced mer-lock, don't know why). OH, THE BEAUTY. It's staggering. When we drove up it felt like we were entering Misselthwaite Manor from the Secret Garden, except it was much brighter and friendlier. The sun shone on the sweet little white picket fence that marks the entrance to this magical place, and the tall gold-green grasses were moving like waves with the wind. I proclaimed to the group that I would like, at some point, to fall backwards into that particular grass and have a decent nap.
The wind is soft and occasional this afternoon. The trees rustle, even now, with a lovely bird chirping somewhere in them. We went on a walk, first thing when we arrived, down to the beach. There's a little clearing in the bushes (blink and you miss it) down on the far side of the lawn through which one walks onto a magical winding path, lush with ferns and mysterious other plants, to get to the beach side. This green is like the green I've seen in my dreams and nowhere else. And the various plantings around this manor are compliments of Richard the very humorous, verbose, lisping, bright-eyed gardener. The cat, Brownwell, is black and white (go figure) and just walked straight across the page I write on with quite some authority. Richard says that this place really belongs to this cat -- he is the true Lord of Murlough.
It is 9:30pm here, and the cerulean light in the sky makes it seem about 7-ish. The air is very cool, dry, and invigorating. The boys had a soccer match earlier this evening, so the girls and I took a jaunt to visit the 14 wild horses that reside down the lane. Well, we actually only saw 2 of them, but 12 more exist somewhere on this island. What a lovely evening...the sun going down, Slieve Donard looming in the distance, and such green...I can't say enough about the green. I've never seen such. The proliferation of all varieties of ferns, the lush carpets of moss, roses, lavender, peonies, nasturtiums, rhubarb, strawberries, raspberries, geraniums, jasmine...it's color-filled and inspired. All brought about by [God via] Richard's funny little green thumb.
The cat just pounded across the field, from behind the greenhouse on my left to the right, where I am betting he's going to go roll around in the cutting garden. I just spotted the moon -- it's bright and maybe two thirds full. What.a.place. Thank you, Father, for creating such beauty, putting it in such devoted and loving hands as these people here, and for bringing me safely across that big, deep, complicated ocean so that I could behold it all with my own eyes. What a gift, what a blessing. It is quite chilly now that the sun is on her way home for the night...I must retreat to the interior warmth, through that giant red front door of fair Murlough.
Perhaps a cup of tea is in order....