The Welcome Return of Divinity…

I’ve always been an animal lover. I grew up in a rural area; the kind of place where animals became naturally part of your life, They sort of wandered in, took up residence and ended up part of the family. In my day there were several cats, dogs, goats, horses, cows; even those bats that seemed to live in every eave and roof.

We were thrilled as children when Dad brought us to buy our first arranged pet, a dog. His name was Sandy and as canines go, he was a beauty. Strong, muscular, gleaming golden coat, shiny eyed.  He was also, by almost his own admission, as dumb as a bag of hammers. He was though, so much fun and very loving. The things he got up to? Where do I start. We had a heritage gooseberry bush. Lovingly tended to through the generations. Sandy destroyed it on one day, when he ate every last gooseberry off the bush, it never produced again. We had a pathway to the lawn, surrounded by two narrow pillars, and try as he might, Sandy could not get through those pillars with that 6 foot stick he used to carry around. That pink, very expensive, designer blouse, my Mam hung out on the line which caused so much consternation when it went missing? Mam, I have a confession and a throbbing secret, I found it grey and hardened by age at the bottom of the garden in 1993, (We are still good, right?). Yep. Sandy was the culprit.

As dumb as Sandy was, he was intelligent in his loyalty. Every Friday evening he would wait by the bus stop in Kilfinane for me to return from UL. Granny was amazed how he trotted up every Friday at 6pm to greet me, I remember, even in his old age, that big goofy Labrador smile; first thing I would see on disembarking that rickety old 5 pm bus from Limerick. He loved our beloved neighbour Hannie, with a devotion that almost bordered on fanatical. Every weekday, even in the arthritic days, he would heave that old pile of bones up and head down to Hannies for the afternoon. He would also accompany her to and wait for her outside the local pub and walk her home. Yes, Sandy; dumb as a bag of hammers but loyal to a fault.

The girls were hassling me for a dog for years. In one of those ” feck it, nothing to lose moments” I gave in. And so Harley arrived. A shy, gentle, wee dog, it took him a few weeks to settle in. And then they hassled me some more and suddenly, before I could take a breath, Minnie arrived. Confident, bubbly, agile.  They both drive me insane. The house is upside down since they arrived. Nothing within chewing distance is safe. Nothing. 

The other night, after the two dogs destroyed and pulled every last toilet roll around the house, not to mention the entire contents of the underwear drawer  (had we really so many toilet rolls, knickers and bras in the house, I never knew??), I’ll be honest I was fit to re home them.  But then something happened.  A moment of stillness, a gap in the chaos. I was upset over something, crying. It happens. And in this blank and despairing space, Harley, the quiet one, jumped in my lap. And he snuggled in with those big, brown, liquid eyes, looked up at me, gave me the paw as if to say “it’s going to be ok”.  He would not leave my side for hours. And then I realised. These are  the most sacred creatures. Sent to us to remind us of divinity. Life seems terrifyingly fast and scary lately………..

How we need to be reminded of divinity, now and then.

To sacred pets everywhere,

Til next time

 

Kat

 

Advertisements

Happy St. Patrick’s Weekend!

It is upon us again!  I hope you all have a great, enjoyable, safe weekend. Please check out a post I wrote for  Club Soda UK .   I am back writing again and if anyone has any suggestions for topics, let me know. Next post; life with not one, but two dogs! (Hint it’s crazy).

Til then,

Kat

Limerick, She Lingers.

Sunset in Co.Limerick

I haven’t been in Dublin since last Tuesday night. Well I have been in Dublin physically but in my head I’ve been in Limerick circa 1993. Nostalgia is an exquisite thing isn’t it?  The balance between happiness, longing and the painful realisation  of the passing of time.

I went to UL in the early 90s. It was a small enough place, as Limerick city is in itself, and everyone knew everyone.

Our haunt was the Stables, especially on Thursday nights. We wore woolly jumpers and docs, lived on a diet of chicken curries, pints of Carling,  Silk Cut fags and Lobster Pot prawn cocktail chips (now there is a longing).

The Stables Bar was the actual centre of our universe, it’s where I met  Mr ZM and my Best Friend of All Times who I never really forgave for fecking off to America (Joking, A!) It’s where the Euro Studs-as us funny Humanities crowd in a sea of engineers were known – used to gather and discuss the issues of the day or rather gossip.

It was also the place, when in 1993, an unknown Limerick band called the Cranberries used to have  a regular Thursday night gig. When I first saw the Cranberries, I was pretty staggered-front woman Dolores had such an amazing,  haunting, almost ethereal voice. She was shy too, you could tell  but somehow her tiny frame and beauty  took up the stage.  I remember one night  her getting off the stage and having a chat with some of us. Of course we never realised they would go on to be such global superstars back then- to us they were a local Limerick band-one of us- who played in the Stables. Looking back now it was such a privilege  to have seen them live in such an intimate setting.

Limerick is a funny place really-a place that I can get defensive about-because  despite the image  it is a place the people are tough and somehow bonded and extrovert and humorous and fiercely,  fiercely proud. And that was Dolores for you, she  never lost her accent or the pride for her County Limerick roots. Ever. When I heard about her untimely passing, while I was commuting home, I must admit in an uncharacteristic fashion I turned my head to the window and cried silently as the memories flooded back

The biggest complement a  County Limerick person can pay another person is to say “fair play”. So I would like to say fair play to you Dolores. Your star will shine brightly over  Limerick forever.

Til next time

Kat.

Ideas, anyone?

Popping in after the winter hiatus; yes I promise I have a proper catch up blog post ready for publication- I just need some images to go with it. In the meantime, I’ve been looking at the social media angle for the blog. Super hard work as I am not the most technically savvy human known to er, humankind. However  in the spirit of miraculous happenings, as you can see Zany Mountain now has a Facebook page. Scroll down to the bottom of the site on the right hand side for a link. Just to say one of the most wonderful things about blogging has been the amazing creative people I have met along the way. So in the spirit of giving it back, I’d be delighted to share any creative ideas or initiatives on the Facebook page. So give us a like, message me and I will share your ideas/sites/blogs articles with full credit to you. Oh yes I have rediscovered Twitter too! Let’s develop a community on the mountain, folks.

 

Love and light,

Kat

The Air is Beautiful…

Myself and the athlete are on our usual Saturday walk. We chatter and catch up as we round a bend to the beautiful pedestrianised country road, just five minutes from the house. As this road is framed by beautiful, ancient trees and as no cars pass; the ground is deeply carpeted by a vision of orange and red leaves. We crunch through them; occasionally the chatter stops and we fall into a silent, natural rhythm. This is the pause between the clamour of Halloween and Christmas; a pocket of calm as we dip towards winter. The air is beautifully clear and fresh. A full moon beckons tonight and somehow this one is charged with calming ions and love. As it turns out, the November full moon is indeed a harbinger of clarity and calm. And how we need it. This year has been tough. Not only for me, but several of my peers and beloved friends. There has been loss this year; stress, sorrow and ill health.  Good people felled by the unexpected, the undeserved and the unwarranted.

There were times in the last year, when I could not believe my own bad luck and decline. A wise friend quoted the famous line “when in hell, keep going”. At times I was on my knees. But at every step, people reached out and this meant kept going. And this is how it must be; accepting people on their journey, walking with them, allowing them to share.

As times are bad, so things turn with the seasons. I have to say, quite honestly, this autumn has been one of the happiest of my life. Yes, it was preceded by a tough time and things are by no means perfect, but I am renewed somehow by surviving these difficulties. I feel alive and energised, clear and happy.  This autumn and the universe of course has obliged; the mild air, the vibrancy of the leaves and fruits, all of this is naturally in step with the change and the joy.

There were other pockets of happiness.  My international peers in the creative realm; writers, bloggers and artists met for brunch in Dublin in October. As well as people travelling from the States, two of our beloved members traveled from the Isle of Skye and the Netherlands. In fact one of the gang traveled over and back in one day. How is that for effort and good intention. We had an amazing reunion.

Lastly, we have a new arrival up on the mountain. A gorgeous puppy, black, tiny and lively. For a person who grew up with dogs; now I am reminded of the joy of the canine companions of my youth. To see my children so excited and engaged, every day since the little fella arrived, my heart is literally skipping.

The moral is, if anyone of the readers and the friends are struggling, know this. The old saying, “the lowest ebb is before the turn of the tide” is true. You will emerge stronger, happier, with more clarity than ever. For any of you in this dark time, also know this, you are always welcome to Zany Mountain. We’ll wait for you while you are going through it, and we will be there when you come out the other side.

And that’s a promise.

Til next time,

Kat x

 

 

 

 

Time for Challenge and Regrowth on the Mountain…

It’s been a bit windswept up here on Zany Mountain. A little bit barren and desolate. Look we’ve had a few forest fires up here in the last few months, but see over there! The fire is clearing, the rain is falling a little more softly and there a few fresh green seedlings are starting to emerge. Ok that’s enough mountainy imagery for now. As I write I am supposed to be back in my real life hometown mountain village of Kilfinane in the Ballyhouras, attending the Hearsay International Audio Festival. But, sigh, didn’t Mr Zany Mountain get out of the car a bit fecking awkwardly the other day so I am here on the Meath border experiencing copious amounts of FOMO and playing Florence Nightingale. Note to self, I am no Florence Nightingale.

Anyway, it is Saturday morning, so to salvage some of the day, I will spend it writing and sitting in my beautiful secret corner of the garden-soon the leaves will turn and it won’t be so private-but with the willow trees still in bloom, no one can find me.

In order to kick-start things around here, I have decided to participate in a Go Sober for October Challenge. I’ll be blogging about this at the end of the month. In order to keep things interesting, I’ll be sharing some alternative drink ideas; cold brews, hot drinks and of course mocktails! I also had the honour of meeting the wonderful, warm and articulate Laura Willoughby and Jussi Tolvi  the founders of the UK-based organisation  and mindful drinking movement called Club Soda earlier in the month. Please check out this amazing organisation. There will be further Irish based meetups so watch this space. Anyway if any of my lovely readers want to join, or share drinks recipes, I’d be delighted! Please comment here or DM me or send me a message on the ole Facebook-any recipes we share will be credited to you. I am sure this will be challenging in this alcocentric, wine o’clock soaked world we live in here in Ireland, (and I have a good few  social occasions coming up) but sure, what’s life without a positive challenge now and then.

Ok my friends, that’s it for now. Got to go and water some seedlings up here.SAM_0847

Love, light and blessings,

Kat xx

 

And the Islands Whispered….

I arrive a day or two ahead of Mr. Zany Mountain to the western edge of Kerry. Still with city dust and rush in my system.  It’s all there, the joy as we round the last bend to Ballyferriter, the excited children, the familiar tug of the heart.  The Kingdom of Kerry puts her best mantle on to welcome us-the sky is endless, cornflower blue. The sea is turquoise and silver, the Blasket Islands-the two clearly visible from the cottage are shaded in gold; so close you can see the ridges and spires.  Stand for a moment in Ceann Sibéal on such a day and the very earth, the very universe itself shimmers in magical folds around you.

Something has happened me lately, an internal shift. I didn’t go outdoors for most of spring, I couldn’t write a word. I was tired. Tired of the work, the carrying and fetching, other people, problems out of my control.  I was tired of myself, if the truth be told. I had the pallor of it-my skin as pale as a ghost.

On our first days there, there is a heat wave. We stretch outside the cottage, books, wine, sun hats, soaking all that good Vitamin D. I feel like a cat, stretching and snoozing in the heavenly still air.

And all the while as I lazily sit outside the cottage in my left ear, the islands throb with a pulse of their own. Calling, whispering, with an unexplained energy.

The two islands visible from Ceann Sibéal are Inis Tuaisceart and An Tiaracht. Sometimes they are so close that you can trace them with fingertips, sometimes they are so forbidding and cold, sometimes they are not even there, in times of evening haze or morning mist. You can only see the edge of Great Blasket (An Blascaod Mór) the largest, almost hulking island  from that particular point, as the little cove outside the cottage (known as Ferriter’s Cove) is sheltered by Clogher Head-a climb worth taking, because that is a vision of heaven where you can see all the islands together. Truly!

20170721_160138I don’t know if I have some kind of spiritual renewal or awakening here, but something gradually creaks open in my soul. I am not religious in the conventional sense, but I believe in human connection, nature, love and the universe. And in my tired, depressed and weary heart, everything flows here in this place to fill in the empty cracks. I see it in the evening murmuration of sparrows, exotic insects, the rainbow of wildflowers. I pass strangers and we stop and warmly chat. I light a candle in a stony church, praying for something to be found, I expect nothing of it, only to turn right and see a stained glass image of Naomh Antaine (St. Anthony, patron of lost things). I laugh and walk and eat  and sleep the sleep of the dead. I cry.

On my last day in Ceann Sibéal, I feel restless again. Myself and Mr. ZM take the final circuitous route from Dingle via Ventry to Ballyferriter. I need to say goodbye to the Islands, I tell him. We stop at the view with the knowing seagulls and we don’t speak, soaking it all in for one final time. I send intentions to An Bhlascaod Mór for a happier outcome to a problem. I cry warm tears behind my sunglasses as Mr ZM squeezes my hand.

It’s the last day and I pause one last time before the long journey east.. I send a final intention to the Islands. For once they answer back in the breeze and in the cries of gulls. I know what the answer is now.

It’s a message of healing.

20170718_182754

Til next time,

Kat x