The Sun Dancing

For Holy Week I blogged out of downtown Asdee as I let the solemn week take hold of me. After a long wet winter, perhaps the longest wettest in memory for so many, we had two weeks of dry weather that came to an end on Good Friday evening. During that dry bright week, land breathed again, cows frolicked in the fields and going to the bog was mentioned. Farm slurry was spread, lawn mowers hummed, planting and rooting started. Mike Joe Thornton’s banana plantation on Banmore Hill will not go ahead this year. In an effort to comply with E.U. regulations the bananas he produced turned out too straight. They were not curved enough for his main buyer, banana bread maker, Donie O Keeffe of downtown Asdee. “Like a free taker in football,” Donie said, “it’s all in the curve.” M.J. Thornton is now diversifying into bog cotton production, making various types of comfort clothing for big animals and fish. Meanwhile both entrepreneurs are attending a symposium pondering some great issues like :  

 But it is EASTER SUNDAY morning! There is a tradition of people rising at dawn in Celtic places. In the recent past in Cnoc an Fhomhair, in Duagh, but this morning in Ballyferriter and Lixnaw. ” The people say the sun dances on this day in joy for the Risen Saviour. Old Barbara Macphie of Dreimsdale saw this once, but only once, during her long life and the good woman of high natural intelligence, described in poetic language and with religious fervour what she saw from the summit of Benmore. ‘The glorious gold bright sun was after rising on the crest of the great hills, and it was changing colour – green, purple,red, blood red, white, intense white and golden white, like the Glory of the God of the elements to the children of men. It was dancing up and down in exhilaration at the joyous resurrection at the beloved Saviour of Victory.’ To be thus privileged a person must accent to the top of the highest hill before sunrise and believe that the God who makes the small blade of grass to grow is the same God who makes the large,massive sun to move.” 

 In 1990,a few of us around Asdee started the custom on Easter Sunday morning of going to the top of Cnoc anFhomhair (879ft), the hill that casts its shaddows on our doors at evening time. A fire was lit there first in 1829 to spread the word that Catholic Emancipation had been won in Westminister, meaning that Catholics could now worship openly in Churches. To celebrate Easter we lit a big fire before dawn, Mass began before dawn with great traditional music. Mass that begun in darkness ended in light and we looked around and recognised the faces of each other. On our decent we took a sunflower with us to plant. We were there in all sorts of weather and on occasion the sun danced. The late John O Donohue celebrated dawn at Easter Mass in Corcomroe in the Burren. In one homily he said, “We don’t realise all the good we can do. A kind, encouraging word or a helping hand can bring many a person through dark valleys in their lives. We weren’t put here to acquire status or reputation. We were sent here to search for the light of Easter in our hearts, and when we find it we are meant to give it away generously. The dawn that is rising this Easter morning is a gift to our hearts and we are meant to celebrate it and to carry away from this holy, ancient place the gifts of healing and light and the courage of new beginning.” Quoted in John Quinn’s book, ‘Walking in the Pastures of Wonder.’

What a great practical Easter message. 

 This is the inside of Duagh Church this Easter Sunday morning. Yesterday Nina and her helpers went to the vicinity of Springmount graveyard and gathered green moss which was then with lights put onto the bare wooden cross of Good Friday – symbolising the Resurrection. “The light of Easter to our hearts!”

On Good Friday, people in downtown Asdee observed traditional fast. Kevin, Ray, Donie, Sean and Con  had sent the mackerel they had fished to Norelle Whyte at her smokehouse in Bunabha.  Smoked mackerel and Donie’s non-banana brown bread featured in the diet of many in the locality. It proved to be thought provoking and penetential for some. For Kevin there was something a bit too fishy about it. Today however we have Mary Whyte’s eggs to look forward to. Mary was proposing feeding her hens chocolate in the hope that they would lay Easter eggs…Pascha Salutem!

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One thought on “The Sun Dancing

  1. Happy Easter to you! We were at 6 a.m. Mass at St. John’s church in Melbourne this morning way before sunrise . It was cloudy too so the sun didn’t arrive until 11 a.m. Kathryn was an altar server at mass and the place was packed with seniors mostly for a traditional mass. Lovely. Our best to you. Love Noreen and Tony.

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