This past Bealtaine weekend, I was thinking a lot about the spirit of a place - Place / Home / Community - What does it all mean?
On Friday I spent part of the day in Dublin, with my 14 year old son. We stayed in Dublin for a while when he was 3 or 4 and thought it would be interesting to visit the house and neighbourhood where we used to live - It was interesting, a little emotional and quite thought provoking, I could still see part of myself back then, ten years ago, walking through the front door.
I have lived in lots of places throughout my life, a boat, bus and barn all before I was seven years old! My parents liked to travel, especially my father - His people were Gypsies. As a child I loved this life of wanderlust and adventure - The path seems to have been set for me during those early years - I don't like to be too static.
The spirit of a place, I am beginning to realise, is just like the spirit of a person, it is an immovable presence. We all leave a fraction of ourselves in physical spaces, and take something new as we depart.
These musing's brought to mind a book I read in the past: 'Songlines' by Bruce Chatwin. In this book Chatwin highlights how Aboriginal people conceive that when a woman first feels her baby move inside her, it is from this physical place where she is standing, that the spirit of the child enters the world.
I have been living here in Baile Mheiriceá now for the past six years, I smell the lake and lakeshore every day, the meadows, heather and the local timber yard. I don't have as much freedom now as when my life was just about me and I do often yearn for the road - When I feel like this I remind myself:
I can still smell the salty air,
the coal fires,
the late night bars,
the bonfires and smoke,
And all the other scents and images of all the places I have been, lived and travelled.
They are all a part of me, their magic, mystery and memories - An immovable presence...
And particles of my spirit are left in these places, mingling and dancing with the present.