Once upon a time in a far off land in the west, someone removed all the sign posts and burnt all the maps.
At first no one noticed as they were in their usual hurry getting from A to B.
But it didn’t take long for them to begin to lose their way. for they were so dependant on sign posts, even when only travelling short distances, they had forgotten how to look at anything else to help direct them in the right direction.
And as the people travelled too and fro losing there way, they began to slow down.
And wandering aimlessly down small roads and laneways they began looking.
Looking in the hedge rows and over cliffs and up at the sky and even down at there feet.
And they saw the earth was beautiful and they saw that it was good.
And it made them happy.
They met many other travellers who were also lost but no longer in any rush to get anywhere and they sat together and became friends and sometimes love emerged from these meetings and they had children who wandered contentedly with them.
Sometimes They came upon a shop where they were given provisions for free because the grocer couldn’t find his way to the bank and therefore discovered that money was no good to him.
The growers began to swap vegetables and potatoes in return for sugar and salt and wheat.
The millers in turn gave wheat to the grocers in return for vegetables.
And the farmer brought milk and cheese and butter in return for flour and chat and good company.
People from foreign lands even wandered to their land and brought wine and coffee and other exotic things and they were welcomed and food was shared.
And people began to take out their boats and go rowing and getting lost at sea.
They knew they were somewhere near France or Spain when it began to get hotter or Denmark or Sweden if it began to get cooler.
But the main thing is they began to really take notice of nature around them.
The ditches tumbling with meadowsweet.
The stone walls covered in dog roses.
The hawthorn and other blossoms in bloom, dreeping white lace into the rivers and lakes.
The birds and their song. The bee’s in the honeysuckle.
How a breeze could cause the fuchsia to litter the path with flowers as red as fresh blood.
How a laneway would meander and reach the sea. How coloured shells would litter a beach.
How freshly green the woods were.
How dark blue and brooding a mountain looked. The brown of the turf.
The skies reflected in the lakes. How water felt to their bare toes.
And they became peaceful and dreamy and they would lie resting in the ditch in between their meandering and share their dreams with strangers.
And these strangers became their friends.
And they would travel together for a while before going their separate ways and getting lost again.
And birds would come closer and no longer be afraid and often a robin would perch on a foot and sing a sweet song before flying off.
And if they happened to be lying by a stream dangling their hands in the cool freshness a trout might swim up and they would tickle its belly and flip it up on the bank and fry it for tea.
But as time went on they felt the need for meat or fowl or fish was getting less and less and they sustained them selves more on greenery and nuts and seeds and though they continues to enjoy the mussels picked fresh off the rocks, they would first admire the pearl like beauty and give thanks to the sea for producing such deliscious delights.
And peace reigned and the people lived happily ever after ……….
I hope you like this story so far.
And it is just a story or more so just a thought, a pondering as I have the habit of doing.
And it came about as I was sitting with some other nurses on our tea break a few days ago.
One nurse was telling about how she and her boyfriend would never go back to Co Clare. Well more specifically to the Burren.
Now I love Clare and especially the Burren so I was curious to know why.
Seemingly they had gone for the weekend to find Father Teds House but even though there were plenty of signposts, they got lost and spent the whole time driving backwards and forwards, up and down roads, totally lost and cross and eventually returned home without ever having found it.
I listened in amazement. ‘never go back’? I asked perplexed ‘why not’.
‘Because we couldn’t find what we came to see and we just drove around lost all the time’ She sounded cross.
‘But its a beautiful place the Burren’ I replied.’I know it so well, I have cycled every bit of it. Its full interesting things.
She wasn’t having any of it. ‘No its not! Its just full of grey, dark, dreary stone. That’s all! what a waste of a weekend.
‘But the flowers which grow profusely across the fields of stones, the hazel woods, the wild sea, the clear sky, even the sculptured shapes of those stones…did you not see them as you were looking for Father Teds house’ I wanted to ask
But our tea break was over and we had to go back to our work.
Later that evening as I thought more about the conversation I realised how ironic it is to focus so much on the destination that you miss the wonderful the journey and the beauty as you travel along.