Sunday, 16 April 2017

Groovy Kinda Love

 How profoundly different life can present in a very few (minutes, hours, days). Maybe more accurately, the nature of life itself remains unchanged ... while one's "circumstance," is more fluid. Today is Sunday (Easter Sunday). I proclaim that, as much as anything, to orient myself. So then, this past Thursday, I began another travel adventure, leaving "home" (Vancouver island) on the 5 p.m. ferry. Then after some number of sands of time sifted through, here I now sit, in Derry, Northern Ireland.

I suppose relative to someone that has never left the town they were born, in I am fairly "well-traveled;" the truth of that becoming more concentrated, over the last seven years. Just the same, the whole experience of it, astounds me again & again.

After intermittent sleep in airplane seats, the bed component of "B&B" was delicious! There was nothing "lagging" - it was dark and I slept. Morning presented (a few different times) before I officially acknowledged it - as much as anything because during my "check-in" the previous night I was told breakfast was between "8:00 & 10:00 a.m." Soon after leaving one time zone - I gave up the need to consider what time it was, where I was. What became relevant was here & now (if I want breakfast) the time is now (my body will be given due respect). I can't however, see how it would serve to sleep longer and then not have food.  Of course, since I've been up and had breakfast and sit writing, innumerable other folks are being "served" breakfast and 10:00 has come & gone. Apparently the 8:00 to 10:00 thing is more pliable, than I might have thought.

I don't feel compelled to rush out the door, a quiet has descended here... as I believe most all the rest of the "guests" have gone off to embrace something. In the meantime, I'm not sure I've entirely arrived here. I can then be further grateful to respect my own rhythms and let the day wash over me before dashing off to "do something." I was considering seeking a "writer's retreat" while traveling (which I still may do) in the meantime, right here, right now; one has sought me.

I have been made aware that there is a parade in town later (afternoon) which commemorates the "Easter Rising" of 1916. I had already felt awash in emotion sitting here... (before being told that).

 Getting "here" ..... sometimes is an instantaneous experience for me, other times, it's incremental. A track came on the stereo .... it was one of those "instrumental" compilations albums; different popular songs covered by a musician on the pan-pipes (as far as I could discern). The song in that moment "Groovy Kind of Love" and for some inexplicable reason it struck me .. and my eyes fill with tears. It's not a song that I would generally anticipate any particular emotional response from. Whether the timber of the pipes, the "familiarity of the tune" the truth and blessing of my current circumstance, being in Northern Ireland (the land of my ancestors) all of it or none of it, I'm doing my level best to honour my heart and not become a "public spectacle." The foretelling of this parade just compounded the free flowing energy and emotion I was experiencing. Some of the guest are leaving, others returning; in & out, as I sit in the reality I'm processing.  Simultaneously I'm writing this and "chatting with some folks on Facebook." The whole thing is surreal to me.

I'm being sent David Whyte offerings - the music continues to pour a stew of various Celtic flavoured offerings, which are profoundly stirring to me. Meanwhile the "staff" are doing their thing, meals are being served in the room next door; someone is wondering aloud when "the pubs will open.." I suppose on the one hand, the myriad of different "realities," is no different than any other time - but my experience of it; was both like being a "fly on the wall," while; I'm still an active part of those, contained within the walls.  It felt like one of those movie scenes; where the protagonist is brought to visit a number of different events,  involving those connected to themselves,  and he/she, is being afforded a view which is not their accustomed perspective. It was intriguing to consider being in my experience, while in the midst of the guest house activity.

I pick up this post, having gone out for the afternoon. I set my sights on seeing some of the memorials i.e. "Bloody Sunday" monument, Free Derry Corner and then see some portion of the parade. I arrive outside the "Bogside Pub" where there are different groups amassing for the parade. Around the perimeter of the parking lot there are multiple placards with pictures, age and year of death. As I walk around taking in the imagery, the previous partial knowing albeit intellectually, of these "events," including a detached recollection of the U2 "Bloody Sunday" song is replaced by the faces, the ages, "walking the soil" bringing the humanity home to my heart. I was saddened by these tragic losses, angered by the oppression and dumbstruck by the value of freedom and the lengths so many have gone to once again reclaim their autonomy.

There appears to be far more pictures than those carrying them. I inquire of two men already holding pictures; whether those doing so, have been "assigned," or is it being determined on a voluntary basis? My question is quickly answered by my immediate involvement. I'm invited to carry a picture of one of the "volunteers." Both some of the other groups within the parade and those lining the parade route are adorned in both the "orange" & the "green." The speech given (by the president of the Sinn Fein party) at the cemetery where the parade culminated; embraces the energy that the future  is a United Ireland. She described this as having "no border," the partition was to remain in the past. Further to that there would be no subdivision, no group was to be marginalized. Union was seen to include space for both green and orange. Women and men. No longer were people to be discriminated against based on religion, politics or sexual orientation.

What an honour it was to be allowed to participate and I might add, to walk my talk which includes how much I value autonomy and inclusion. What a gift it was to experience the energetic  domino effect of generations of my ancestors expressing directly to and through my heart. I couldn't begin to paraphrase the content of the speeches given in Gaelic however, my heart swelled and was enlivened by the connection and significance of being present while it was being spoken. Our section of the procession stopped in the cemetery directly adjacent to a beautiful monument of Cuchulainn which was erected to honour some, that had lost their lives. The monument depicted the ancient warrior lashed to a stone as he was said to have done; so that after he had finally been defeated in battle; he could die standing up, and pass over with honour.

Michael Meenan who died in 1974 at the age of sixteen was afforded the honour of being remembered and a walk he no longer could make on his own; through my willingness to be his legs today.  In doing so, I was able to feel first hand; the presence and energy of my ancestors. It is said we are supported as we "stand on their shoulders" those that have gone before us and the untold sacrifices they made that led to my being here now. By honouring him, I was able to walk with and know honour. Through answering the call to stand with him; I was able to experience what it is to stand for something, far greater than myself and to become further acquainted, with the power one person has, "to make a difference." To "do small acts with "great love."

We marched the uphill route to the cemetery while Mother Nature dished up a rotating maelstrom from the weather spectrum. External elements however, were no match to the spirit of the occasion. What a gift to answer this call. I'm not saying this from the perspective that this is, "the call" that everyone should rise to. I'm saying, I was listening when the call when out ... regardless if it was intended for anyone else or just me - I heard it and this was my response.

When the ceremony was finished I walked the route back the way I came. While I marvelled at what I had the opportunity to experience, I began to wonder what I would do for dinner. It was both Sunday and Easter. There may well have been more places open as options, as the rain continued to fall on & off I was less enthusiastic about an extensive search. As I got a short distance from where the B&B I am staying at is located; I saw first a pub that was open and serving food - standing room only was the reality in there. I left and walked further toward "home." There I came across a place call "Good food to Go" - there I got myself a turkey dinner with all the trimmings and the joy of observing another form of "tradition."

My first day here has been a feast on all levels. Thank you to my ancestors and to Great Spirit for a Groovy Kinda Love!

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