Tuesday, May 04, 2010

The Giants' Causeway

"It is not closed because it is closed," the old man says, "it is just closed for your safety because of the rockslide." And so we, and everyone else, climb over or around the woodworks sealing off that path up the cliff and go, trekking up the equivalent of a ten-story building as we rise from mid-way above the Giants' Causeway to the top. There we breath more heavily than we should, and I light a cigarette, and we look down to this most incredible scene below us as the North Atlantic surges out of a breathtaking blue and then we look that way as mother sheep chase their new lambs across fields so green you know they have been painted by gods. "Ma'ahahahahah," the sheep bleats. "shusssshhh" the sea replies. We look back. From here you can see the Dunluce Castle and the White Rocks Beach and Portrush, and all the way beyond to the Donegal Highlands and Inishowen. Here the first Celts came as the last Ice Age ended, crossing from the gray of ancient Alba to the white cliffs and green pastures of Eirann. There the people fled by steamer to America over a century, trading poverty and degradation for hope and possibility. But that is not the story. "When those ancient giants walked ashore," I say, "carrying St. Patrick and the sheep, and, of course, the pigs for the Irish Breakfast, they threw the snakes out, then rested right here, forming these gentle soft flat-lands." Her smile is brilliant, and her laugh, though derisive, is so sweet. "You all just keep telling your stories, whatever they may be. You sure can talk your way through anything." The North Coast sun illuminates us and warms us. "You can only tell the stories," I whisper to her, "if you truly believe in them."

(c) copyright 2007 - 2010 by Ira Socol

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