Friday, January 22, 2010


I drove through Co. Kerry today in saffron-on-sapphire blue light misted by lemon-tinged clouds. I winked at a 'poodle' in the sky, lying in wait, ready to pounce on someone affectionately. Looking at the sky longer than I should, I smarten up and remind myself to keep one eye on the road, at least. (When I fly, I'm free to 'sky gaze' and never cease to wonder at the expressionism of nature and, in particular... clouds. I take out my lime-green 'cloud-watching' book and compete with past journeys in an effort to discover another adjective beginning with the word 'c', and in my trance-like state, I forget that two strangers from planet Earth are sitting at close quarters, when I emit... 'aha!')

Leonardo Da Vinci (?)
500 yds further along the N21, the 'poodle' has transformed itself into an 'unwrapped banana' waiting to be wedged between tongue and lips. Then I think of Leonardo Da Vinci, who believed that great art was born from a continuous observation of nature and a light-induced, ever-changing landscape, and not by the seduction of imitating other artists. He championed the works of Giotto, a Florentine artist and architect (1267-1337), whose youth had been spent in the mountains, watching, sketching goats in their rocky surroundings, and who later resisted the temptation to regurgitate the style of his teacher, the great Cimabue.

Lamentation (The Mourning of Christ) - Giotto

The glory of saffron on sapphire!

Intriguing are the blue and red painted metal horses, that neither whinnied nor tossed manes as I rattled past in an old car, chilled, by a window that wouldn't close, and I wonder who created them and what they are sculpting now. Perhaps they left their mark somewhere on the head or legs... but its too late to check... they're in my rear window now!

The Windmills of Your Mind...... ?

My attention is diverted from the road once again by windmills stuck on top of hills, right and left. Normally intrusive, I am bewitched by their grace and poise. Today they are balletic gymnasts transformed by gentle southerly winds and encouraged by earth's hum.

Talking of going with the flow, Larry Gogan was on the radio. I hadn't listened to his programme in years, and he was playing all my favourites... Tamla Motown, Fleetwood Mac... good old fashioned dance music. I have a confession to make. I am a 'car-dancer', and unlike Irish dancing which is all about the feet, 'car-dancing', for obvious reasons, does not rely on the feet or the hands. I am in awe of people who can remain quite still while listening to, or watching their favourite bands play. That takes a tremendous amount of self-discipline. My brain compels movement. There is no pre-action thought transmission procedure... it just happens! When you think about it, a woman of my age has no other option but to take up 'car-dancing' or 'kitchen-dancing'. Where do we go, where dancing is just for 'dancing' and not seen as some kind of 'desperate housewifey' mission to 'pick up' someone.

I'm going away on March 12th for eight days with my closest friends, Diane and Avril. I referred to them in an earlier blog. I think we are going to Tenerife (they do the planning... I just arrive from Ireland) where we will dance the night away in the Soul Bar, and I shall do my very best not to give two hoots what anyone thinks. I haven't been on a 'girlie' holiday in four years, and only get to see the girls once a year at most, so it will be good not to have to cram twelve or twenty-four months of news into a couple of hours over dinner. They would normally take a nap in the afternoon, while I explore. Going to hire a car this time around and take off in search of interesting interior shots of the volcanic landscape. Planning a trip to South America later in the year, which will be adventure... adventure... adventure! No Soul Bar there... but I'm sure to find some rhythm to dance to in the midst of the rain forest.

To saffron:

In Sanatan Dharma (Hinduism), saffron is associated with sacrifice and salvation. Saffron or "Bhagwa" is often worn by "Sanyasis" who have left their home in search of the ultimate truth. Saffron is also associated with the goddess of dawn (Eos in Greek mythology and Aurora in Roman mythology) in classical literature:
Homer's Iliad :

Now when Dawn in robe of saffron was hastening from the streams of Okeanos, to bring light to mortals and immortals, Thetis reached the ships with the armor that the god had given her. (19.1)

Virgil's Aeneid :

Aurora now had left her saffron bed,
And beams of early light the heav'ns o'erspread,
When, from a tow'r, the queen, with wakeful eyes,
Saw day point upward from the rosy skies.

Cymon and Iphigeneia c. 1884 by Frederic Leighton - saffron suffuses the canvas at sunrise.

Now to Sapphire:

Blue Sapphire is legendary and has enchanted mankind throughout the ages. The gemstone represents Saturn and a sense of being well-balanced and industrious.


Back to my Kerry day:

This was a surreal and beautiful day... unexpected... in the middle of two difficult weeks of angst, (mostly self-inflicted)... a burst of sunshine. I am only finishing and posting this blog now, a week later, because it felt 'weird' to experience these moments of joy in the midst of my whining, whinging self-indulgence. Lyrics from the song, 'Windmills of Your Mind' featured in the film ' The Thomas Crown Affair' spring to mind:
like a circle in a spiral
Like a wheel within a wheel.
Never ending or beginning,
On an ever spinning wheel
Like a snowball down a mountain
Or a carnival balloon
Like a carousel that's turning
Running rings around the moon

chorus: Like a clock whose hands are sweeping
Past the minutes on it's face
And the world is like an apple
Whirling silently in space
Like the circles that you find
In the windmills of your mind

Like a tunnel that you follow
To a tunnel of it's own
Down a hollow to a cavern
Where the sun has never shone
Like a door that keeps revolving
In a half forgotten dream
Or the ripples from a pebble
Someone tosses in a stream.

To those who put up with me, and indeed, for those who can't, I wish you many, many saffron-on-sapphire moments, hours and days.

The Tree of Forgiveness

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