Have you a place you like to go where you find total peace? Maybe it is indoors within your own home, or a local spot you go to, to walk or to sit. A place that over the years has shared your tears and laughter?
I remember when my father knew he was dying he wrote the family a letter. Within that letter he said that our back garden was ‘his favourite place on earth’. I remember silently crying as I heard those words read, for they brought me back to before, Before Dad got Motor Neurone disease, to the days he spent sawing, hammering and generally banging around out in the back garden, working on his latest project. Remembering the days, not too long before when he was fit and healthy.
Over the years I have always found such a place. Somewhere I can be at peace. As a child it was my bedroom, and then I grew up and got my first car. Now I could roam further afield and away from the house and family, and so I did. I headed up the Dublin mountains to a place I could go rambling without ever meeting a soul. (Solitude). I was a very troubled girl back then and found so much peace there. Enough to allow me to recharge my batteries and give me the strength to carry on.
Time moved on and I left Dublin for Australia and then back home to Ireland where I settled in Cork, a place I have lived for nearly twentyfive years. Around me is a beautiful mix of country and village, yet I am only a few miles from the city centre. There is a slower pace of life here than there is in Dublin, and it feels more peaceful. Here too I have found a place where I can go to recharge my batteries and to find peace. It is not a spectacularly beautiful spot, but it is quiet, and peaceful, and over the past many years it has shared the highs and lows of our lives, as my friends and I have walked its quiet grassy paths.
For more walks than I care to remember the hedgerows have listened, as we spoke about the trials of being young mothers, the lack of sleep, and the frustrations of coping with tantrums, disappointments, successes and family rows. The cows in the fields were the only witnesses to our fears as we walked along speaking in shock of young Daniels diagnosis of leukemia,and as time passed to our hopes that he would make a fully recovery. We were oblivious to their presence, sometimes openly weeping, as we recalled his homecoming and gentle passing two days later, almost one year ago. Without this wonderful walk I do not know how we would have got through the past year. It has given us a place to go, to mourn and to grieve, as well as to laugh and experience the other parts of life that do not stop even in the midst of such enormous grief (walking through grief).
However even though I love my peaceful hillside walk there is another place which holds my heart. This is the place of my dreams. My heaven on Earth. The place which never ceases to take my breath away, and which for me is exactly what I mean when I say ‘I come from Ireland’. This morning my daughter sent me this link, and I know you will enjoy it.
So come with me to Allihies. My heaven on earth.
Now you have seen my place of peace, I’d love to know about yours.