Yesterday afternoon, I wanted nothing more than to than enjoy some moments of perfect peace. In the midst of ongoing, polemic debate on social media and the endless deluge of negativity on the news, nothing seemed more beautiful to me than walking among trees, listening to the subtle sounds of birds and animals, and breathing in as much fresh air as I could. So there was nothing for it but to go to my long-treasured space of refuge: the National Botanic Gardens.
The daffodils reigned supreme, absolutely blanketing the Gardens in colour everywhere I went. There were pale shades of delicate cream, muted yellows, bright splashes of sunshine, vibrant oranges, occasional flashes of fiery red … and all of them delighted me.
I tried to take a picture of the elf’s face on my favourite tree (which can be seen in this blog post from a couple of weeks ago), but something strange kept happening to my camera. The weather wasn’t particularly foggy, but a mist seemed to cloud every photograph I attempted to take. My lens wouldn’t focus properly, no matter what I did. I couldn’t get a clear picture of the elf’s face: it was always blurred. In the end, I accepted the fact that the elf didn’t seem to be in the mood to pose for a photograph, and I moved on. Do I believe fairies exist? Well … I’m not ruling it out, in all honesty!
There is something in me that will forever resonate to the dramatic tales I heard in my childhood: the weight of ancestral memories, the síoga, the banshees, the strange and fantastical happenings outlined in Irish mythology. While I value the many important attributes of logic and rationality, I know that deep in my heart, I will always relish the inexplicable mysteries of life. I can’t help feeling that the elf in my favourite tree really didn’t want to have his picture taken yesterday, as my camera was doing some very strange things.
The beauty and tranquillity of the Gardens provided me with the respite I needed.
One area of the Gardens contains a small replica of the rocky landscape in the Burren, Co. Clare, as well as playing host to a little rag tree with a notice nearby that explains the historical importance of these trees.
Incidentally – lest anyone should be in any doubt whatsoever – the third paragraph on this notice proves that fairies are definitely real and you should never go around messing with their forts. However, the charges against DeLorean were eventually dropped, so who can say, really? 🙃
In case anyone is unable to read what the third paragraph of that notice says, here it is:
Frequently (rag) trees are associated with particular saints (St. Kieran’s Bush, Clareen, Co. Offaly), but their strongest association is with the fairies or little people. In Ireland it is considered very unlucky to damage or uproot these trees as it upsets the little people and they may seek revenge. There is one famous account when the DeLorean car company (Back to the Future) planned to set up a factory in Ireland. The proposed site had an earthen mound with a hawthorn tree on top, which the local workmen would not remove on account of the bad luck associated such an act. It is said that eventually John DeLorean himself actually drove the bulldozer to remove the tree. Production of the car began in early 1981 and ceased in late 1982 with the arrest of John DeLorean on drug trafficking charges which were subsequently dropped.
Whenever I take a walk in a beautiful natural area, it fills me with strength, happiness and peace of mind. Everyone has their own particular method of relaxation that works for them. For me, a trip to the wonderful Botanic Gardens is it.