The Leap Year

The promised rain has arrived from the South-West this morning in downtown Asdee.

Listening to Caroline Myss I’ve been thinking about how we are all encouraged to feel special and affirm everyone around us as special. The result is that we are hurting from wanting to feel special all the time. I can take the weather personally but the fact is everyone else around me is getting wet by the rain too. Get over it!

It’s the advertising world that has taken hold of me when I’m so selfish.  But so often we hold the ordinary world in contempt. We so often move in a world where there is a disease in making us feel special. Because by saying I’m special I’m separating myself from everyone else. Why should I be telling myself to? The ordinariness of life affects us all, so much of it is about showing up as Woody Allen says. Yet sitting inside my own skin and becoming aware can help me to “Humble Up”.

Great advice to give in the presence of a moan!


Mist, Rain & Ice .


It’s a cold,bright, clear morning here in downtown Asdee – unlike the political reality the election has landed us in! Over the last few days we have had mist, rain and ice. Listening to Caroline Myss it’s worth thinking on these realities as insights into our lived reality. Mist becomes rain ,  becomes ice. It’s the same substance. One of the laws of the universe that is put forward maintains that as energy becomes matter so too thought becomes form. Energy is like mist. It’s the Grace of God in our lives or whatever we see as our higher power. Rain is about the choices we make. It’s the flow we sense in our life. We can see water as rain,as a thunderstorm, it can wash, nourish, be used to make tea or whatever. The ice is the physical reality we experience with our five senses.

When I stop and stare at reality ,other than the political reality , I realise that there is so much so close to us that can inspire and nourish us. There is an “inner net” not just an Internet! The world behind my eyes can be very satisfying!



The Wisdom of a Caller 

Birdsong is so much louder after a shower of rain this morning in downtown Asdee. A caller who rambled in last night said that “wan should always slow down when you’re feeling hasty. It will all be the same 5 years from now.”

When I can’t sit still tis then or ever I should sit still. When I’m looking for attention tis then or ever I should lay low. Often what I’m really looking for is hidden in the wrapping of my nearest want. Sure what else would be bothering you the night before an election! It didn’t stop us from going on to talking about Winston Churchill’s funeral plans, code named “operation hope not”, followed by the benefits of castor oil in cleansing the liver, frogspawn and the election.

All of which reminds me what was hidden in the wants of what we were talking about. I’m glad we finished up with a decade of the Rosary!

Do Badgers Eat Eucyliptus?

The sun isn’t as evident this morning in downtown Asdee. The clouds they are a changing!

Yesterday the wet land seemed to be breathing again, it was squelchy still underfoot but the sun could still soak it dry. Debbie and I went on a trip to the fort at the back of the house. In the days of we planted 12 eucyliptus trees there last October. Kathleen, Ray and Donie did the work and I hadn’t seen them since then. That time we proposed sending Donie to Australia for Koala bears!

On November 15th, Greta Rakowski sent us a garden ornament of a koala bear. Since last February she sent me many messages of support and inspiration despite her own illness. In November she wrote: “I have learned that my thoughts have become things so I make sure I think thoughts that are loving and in agreement with what I love.”

All who knew her were inspired by her life and I couldn’t help but pray for and to her as I approached the Fort, Liosaniska.  Greta passed over to the eternity she so earnestly bore witness to in early December.

The inside of the Fort is so much more dryer than the surrounding fields. But there are only 11 trees now and some have been pruned in places. At the back of the fort is a badgers set.

Do badgers eat eucyliptus trees we thought.

The problems life throws at you! The majority of the trees are thriving.

We thought of putting up a sign saying don’t eat the trees but badgers don’t read do they? Instead Kevin, our local artist, will draw a picture of a badger with an X through it. That’s sure to give them the message! Koala consultant, Donie O Keeffe wisely told us last night what he learned going to Asdee School all those years ago: “Raramento trova subito, chi cerca in fretta.” (Rarely will you find quickly what you search for in haste) And then he drove off at high speed on a motorcycle!

Cloud Puffball 

Another day has dawned in downtown Asdee and the moonlight has given way to a splendid blue sky. Horizons were laced yesterday with clouds, bright grey edged with white brightness.

Gerard Manly Hopkins springs to mind:

“Cloud-puffball, torn tufts, tossed pillows flaunt forth, then chevy on an air-built thoroughfare. Heaven roysters,in gay gangs, they throng, they glitter in marches.”

I remember the sheer madness of Hopkins’ language when we first read it at school as we began to first realise where words on a page can bring one. As children we laid in the fields on summer days and looking at the sky saw different shapes roll by. ‘Twas much more imaginative than the iCloud! It was the original cartoon series.

“That tall distance where the cloud begins” as Mary Oliver mentioned, puts me in touch with the infinite. What are we doing here at all, at all?

William Stafford has a pointer in “Crossing Unmarked Snow ”

“The things you do not have to say make you rich 

Saying the things you do not have to say weakens your talk.

Hearing the things you do not have to hear dulls your hearing.

And the things you know before you hear them-those are you. Those are why you’re in the world.”

Dexter’s Rock 

The moon was bright last night and it has dawned crisp and bright here in downtown Asdee. What a difference the light makes! It takes a bit of time to get over the evening news on television: they say “good evening “at the start and then they go on to tell you all the reasons it isn’t a good evening…homelessness..refugees..a shooting here….a bombing there.  So the bright morning is welcome.

The road to Littor Strand has daffodils. 

 “And then my heart with pleasure fills and dances with the daffodils ”

 Yesterday was a great day for a walk on the strand. The last high tide has done great damage to the shoreline,pulling trees onto the strand. I stood at a rock which is just at the left of where we enter the beach. It has changed so much over the years.  

 When I was young it seemed so big. There were times and it was almost covered by sand. It was always known as Dexter’s Rock. The story goes that a man called Dexter who deserted the British Army in the mid nineteenth century used read his newspaper on that rock. The paper came from Limerick and might be weeks old. Nothing else is remembered of him. And those before and since that have walked by here and stood by here…. It is good to be out, no matter how short,to breathe the air…to be.

John Moriarty memorably said, “If we keep our eyes open and our hearts clear, we can realise that life gives us adequate opportunities to experience both love and hope “

The Way We Talk 

Winds passed over last night in downtown Asdee and the day broke fresh and bright.

The stern descriptive language of “Big Maggie” is still with me. I hear echoes of that tongue formation around us still. It’s raw and used most often when someone is being brought “down to size.” Did you ever sense “empty bigness” in someone? Then a neighbour used to say: “Lovely people but they came from nothing!” In a local pub, a silent man was asked what he was doing.

“Thinking,” was his answer.  “A dangerous thing to do if you haven’t the proper equipment,” the questioner added.

“I knew you from 1 to Z” threatened the tipsy neighbour at the mart. The new bit of style was always commented on; “You’re neat but not expensive!” And the returned visitor was clipped by saying, “Didn’t you get good looking!”

Humour, when it mirrors a truth bears repeating. Many a truth told in jest! The slit between the nose and the chin can be more wounding than a blow.

“She is still with us”. Re-membering 

The South-West winds blew loud and wet all night in downtown Asdee making bed feel so comfortable!

The way a whistling wind can creep into a house and roam around so many crevices like a trapped bird. Nancy and Mary came and we remembered their sister Chrissie Nolan who died before Christmas. Today the Church’s  Liturgy reminds us of the transfiguration of Jesus. In Mark’s Gospel the story is told that Jesus went up the mountain with a few disciples and there they saw Jesus being transformed into a heavenly reality that left them awestruck. Sometimes in nature when the temperature drops below freezing point the green fields turn white with frost. Something like that happened on that mountain : awarenesses was raised to remind us all that there is a future calling all of us forward and Jesus directs us on that road of mercy.

Our humble prayer is that Chrissie is now in that transformed reality that she was baptised into. Often Chrissie quoted, Duagh man George Fitzmaurice :   “What matter it now what he did or didn’t do since he is gone but for him and the likes of him, the sun will always shine and the flowers will always smile on the green grass of Ireland.”

As Spring wakes up the flowers from the brown Earth we will be reminded of the way Chrissie lived a life moving us all towards the transformed life Jesus shows us.

Back in 1981, Chrissie attended my diaconate ceremony in Rome.


Confession is good for the Soul

Though the day is wet and windy in downtown Asdee, it isn’t cold. 

The gulls are resting in the green wet fields, sensing the choppy seas around us. The last few months have been so slow for me. I have had to stay in one place, indoors, restricted access to people. Experiencing a small bit of cabin fever so I have been building myself up for a short outing. On Thursday last I went to Dublin with Kathleen. Our purpose was to meet my cousin Debbie off Flight E1146 from San Francisco. Our trip to Dublin was through luminous countryside in the February sunshine. The blue Shannon met the green fields all the way to Limerick: and then meeting Debbie after her nine hour flight and it’s four months since we met. I’m still not in the position of looking after myself and Debbie will stay here for the next few weeks. Better to be born lucky than rich!

To celebrate our existence, and through the kindness of Billy Keane, we three got to see “Big Maggie”. It is memorable and great Kerry contributions to this Druid Production dedicated to the memory of Mary Keane. Aisling O’Sullivan could read the stars in her skewed take on human nature. Muiris Crowley lands a flawless interpretation of a bruised son. Meeting Muiris afterwards was life giving for he is a generous man who brings light with him wherever he goes.

Friday for me was spent resting, to recover my energy for the trip home today. We stopped at the Obama Plaza on the way down-a must for any Yank with democratic leanings! 

Was it wise for me to go? 

What was my expectation in the light of what I have been reading in Caroline Myss? Well I had no expectations with regard to outcome but I had with regard to myself and my behaviour. I rested when I needed to and boy did I need it. Another step in my self understanding!

Yesterday was Olivia Whyte’s thirtieth birthday-that’s 30! There was Marquee Dancing all night in Bunabha and today is a national holiday in that townland. Many of the guests arrived by yacht and docked at the local jetty. I just hadn’t the energy to go myself to this high octane gathering! Kevin loved it. Olivia’s wise mother Mary, keeper of the hens, declared “the water that softens the spuds, hardens the eggs ”

What do you mean Mary?