Caoineadh Cú Chulainn, Bill Whelan
Uilleann Pipes, Tara Howley

This is lament and love for an entire culture: a piece about mourning Cú Chulainn, a warrior hero and demigod in the Ulster Cycle of Irish mythology, as well as in Scottish and Manx folklore. The underlying ‘drone’ of orchestral harmonies that are gradually heard here, like ‘dawn’ behind and around the lone (in this case, female) Uilleann piper, may bring tears to your eyes. Our lives are surrounded and supported by ‘other’ sounds – the cantus firmus, the enduring melody.

Friends have responded to a musical note at the end of my piece about Riverdance the other day: that it might usefully take up a post in its own right. ‘Lament’ has a place in all our lives as an encourager of reflection, a being present to what is, now, and an invitation to hope for the future, even when ‘the times’ feel bleaker than bleak – immense courage notwithstanding. This morning I heard a young girl, a seven year old soloist, beautifully singing the Ukranian National Anthem in a crowded Polish stadium. I cried. And I cry out, reaching for hope and harmony. Riverdance (and all that the notion of a river’s ‘dance’ might imply) came to mind, in company and in harmony with treasured friends, and again and again I have listened to the depth in this Lament – and invite you today, in the coming days, and months and years, to listen and to lament too – because harmonies do dawn – quietly, courageously, and persistently. And tears carry pain away down-river – to join in the being held, by a vast ocean.



never ending or beginning …

more @gardenstudiogram

Further to last evening’s post, I’ve been thinking again about some of our perceptions of time: ancient, demanding, dreamy, fast, fussed, future, governed, history, idling, loved – or not, making, meandering, measured, medieval, modern, slow, hassled, hurried, 🎵 never ending or beginning, old, wanting, working, worrying, wasting, young = beautiful, old = decrepit – in the windmills of your mind …

Aches come about when we allow our human experience of time to get out of kilter: when we try too hard or for too long to hammer opposition, push growth, finish faster, win hearts, ‘conquer’ nations, security issues or workloads, pump muscles, grind corn or wheat or gears. And sometimes muscles ache, sometimes hearts ache. Sometimes minds and souls crash to a standstill. Sometimes. Often, even.

But the budding trees and flowers in my garden in still-a-bit-wintry-looking early Spring? What’s their perception of time? Have they been resisting winter? Has the apple told the acer ‘I hate cold! Can’t wait for Spring! Wish I was somewhere else’ ? Well, maybe. I can’t know. But I guess not. Frost, gale, sunshine or snow – the movement I observe in my garden is slow. And year-round miracles occur in its quiet state of simply being.