By Bernie Bell
In the year 1998 Mike and I were visiting my sister Bridget who lived near Sligo town in the Republic of Ireland. We decided to go for a drive round the Horseshoe Pass. It’s not so much a pass through the hills, as a curving road, in a horse-shoe shape, in the hills. https://discoverbundoran.com/2020/03/gleniff-horseshoe-a-local-getaway/
We drove into the horse-shoe, stopped the car, and would have liked to go up the nearest hill, Truskmore, but there was a big metal gate in the way – a BIG one – high up and wide across, so, philosophically, we decided to just mooch about a bit and enjoy the place for what it is and what we could see around us, including Benwiskin Mountain – like a wave breaking….
Then, a man drove up in a van. He told us it was his mountain, and said he’d take us up it if we liked. He unlocked the gate, we went through, and drove up to the top, where we saw……..
A vista – looking round, below us we could see the sand of a stretch of coastline, Knocknarae (aka Queen Maeve’s Grave) http://www.megalithicireland.com/Knocknarea.htm , and more hills with vales between. The weather was very – atmospheric – big clouds and rain sweeping through, then the sun shining in shafts into the vales. It was a wonder.
Photographs couldn’t catch it, but my ‘mind’s eye’ could. The scene stayed in my memory.
We went back down the mountain, and Bridget was keen to give the man ‘something for his trouble’ – he said we could buy him a pint if we saw him in the pub. That’s Ireland for you.
Some months later a friend asked me to write a meditation, and then lead a group through that meditation, and so, I wrote the following……….
Afterwards, one woman told me that the last she had seen of her dog was when he was ill, and died. A painful memory for her. During the guided visualisation, she met her dog again, on the beach, and they ran and played together. So, her last memory of him changed from one of his illness and passing, to one of them running and playing together, on a beach. This made her very happy.
Later, when Ben-The-Dog joined us, we named him Benwiskin after the mountain, then his name got shortened, to match his size.
Recently I have been contacted by two people – a long-lost relative from America, and a not-so-long-lost Great-niece from Ireland – both keen to hear of family tales and memories.
I’ve put this piece together for them, as keeping family contacts and memories alive, matters – especially in these uncertain times.
I am the family face;
Flesh perishes, I live on,
Projecting trait and trace
Through time to times anon,
And leaping from place to place
The years-heired feature that can
In curve and voice and eye
Despise the human span
Of durance – that is I;
The eternal thing in man,
That heeds no call to die.