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The Sacred Feminine in the West of Ireland – June 2015

In June 0f 2015, I went on my first Celtic Spirituality tour with Mara Freeman (www.chalicecentre.net).  This tour was an immersion into “The Sacred Feminine in the West of Ireland” and was based in County Sligo on the west coast of Ireland.  It was an incredible journey.  Read my travel journal below and see photos at the end.

 

Ireland 2015

Mysteries of Avalon Tour 2016

stonehenge23

Stonehenge

avalon-diary

My favorite bluebird photo

Bluebird on logThis is my current favorite bluebird photo!

 

In memory of my mother

Tibbie Fitch

A week from today is my mother’s birthday.  She would have been 88.  This is a poem I wrote shortly after her death.  It is my tribute to her on her birthday.

My Mother’s Hands

By Jean Fitch Justice

 

My mother’s hands were graceful ‘til the End.

After her sight dimmed,

 her memory fractured,

 her hearing diminished,

 her sense of taste and smell died,

 her strength left,

 her voice rasped,

 her muscles atrophied,

 her hold on reality unraveled,

After so much of life had abandoned her,

Her hands were graceful ‘til the End.

 

Those last few days, her hands were seldom still.

She lifted her arms and linked her hands

as if she embraced someone dear.

Her slender fingers worked busily at unknown tasks.

Was she folding laundry?

Was she preparing dinner?

Was she sorting papers?

Was she searching for all she had lost?

Those of us who loved her stayed by her side.

We held her hands.

   We spoke soothing words.

      We moistened her lips.

         We synchronized our breath with hers

            Willing her to let go,

      to simply stop,

      to follow her sight,

       her voice,

       her strength,

       her memory

     Home.

 

In the End, I held her hand

and sang the songs she had taught me,

wetting each word with tears.

 

In the Beginning, she was present for my first breath,

she whose heartbeat was my own,

she whose voice sang to me before birth,

she who loved me first and longest

though perhaps not best.

 

In the Beginning, we two were one.

In the End, I watched her leave this world

with wonder and grief.

I held her still graceful but now stilled hands in mine.

I traded my first breath for her last

And she was gone.

 

October 27, 2012

 

Beach Time

Every morning we see from one to four Jeeps or ATVs going along the waterline and several people out poking in the sand and putting things in nets.  John finally talked with one of them and learned that they are patrolling the beaches looking for tar balls left over from the BP oil spill.  That morning, in one mile they had picked up 13 pounds of tar balls. We haven’t seen anything looking at all like oil or tar but they know what to look for, I guess.  The sand is really light colored – not quite white but pale beige.  Yesterday, I sat on the beach in my chair and watched the dolphins diving.  They kept going back and forth in front of me so there must have been a school of something yummy there.  At one point, about 20 gulls also showed up right at the water’s edge and started diving into the water catching small fish 2-3″ long.  I took this shot of a dolphin as he dived – just wish it were a little better focused.  I’ll try again today.  The other photo is sunset over Little Lagoon in Gulf Shores, AL. We are having gorgeous weather this week – our last week at the beach.  Sunday we head for home.

Dolphin DivingSunset on Little Lagoon

 

Birding in Gulf Shores, Alabama

This morning I went on a birding walk with two volunteers at the Bon Secour Nature Reserve. We saw lots of birds but only one or two water birds.  The two most exciting sightings for me were a brown-headed nuthatch and a ruby-crowned kinglet.  This is not good a good time of the year here for bird-watching but we found plenty to look at anyway.  In March, the migrants would be here in droves.  If I ever come back, that’s when I want to come. Here is my bird list for Gulf Shores: Common Loon, Double-crested Cormorant, Hooded Merganser, Brown Pelican, Great Blue Heron, Snowy Egret, Tricolored Heron, Turkey Vulture, Osprey, American Coot, Snowy Plover, Willet, Sanderling, Herring Gull, Laughing Gull, Caspian Tern, Common Tern, Sandwich Tern, Forster’s Tern, Gull-Billed Tern, Mourning Dove, Red-headed Woodpecker, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Brown-Headed Nuthatch, Carolina Wren, Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, Eastern Bluebird, Hermit Thrust, American Robin, Northern Mockingbird, Cedar Waxwing, Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Red-Winged Blackbird. Photos below are of the brown-headed nuthatch and of a heron showing his reflection in the water.

Brown-Headed Nuthatch - CopyHeron Reflected

Dolphin time

After a couple of cold, windy, rainy days last week, the sun came back and we’ve had some gorgeous days again.  I love going down to the beach and watching for the dolphins.  On the cold days when the wind was blowing from the north, they were way out too far to be seen but when the wind switched directions and died down a bit, they came back.  Behind this one you can see one of the many natural gas rigs found in this part of the Gulf and in Mobile Bay. We are told that Florida doesn’t allow them off their coast but buys natural gas from Alabama instead. At night these things are all lights!

DSCN4749

Look who’s looking at you

We saw dolphins again this afternoon. It has rained briefly a couple of times and the wind is back. We walked the boardwalk in town and saw this fellow.  We weren’t sure at first if it was a piece of driftwood or an alligator. The eye answered our question!

 

Louisiana Heron

Here is a different kind of heron.  I think it is a Louisiana Heron, also called Tri-Color Heron.  It is smaller that a Great Blue Heron and has different coloring. We saw him at the Fort Morgan Ferry dock.  Yesterday we went to see the movie Les Miserables which was amazing, wonderful, the best movie I’ve seen in a long time.  When we went on our late afternoon walk on the beach, we saw dolphins playing in the waves 35-40 yards off shore.  That made the day nearly perfect for me!

Lazy Day

Had to turn on the air-conditioning today.  $:>)  We had a leisurely morning, then headed out to find the Orange Beach Art Museum, stopped at an antique car show on the way, had shrimp and flounder for lunch, stopped at WalMart for the area’s cheapest gas ($3.09 vs. $3.36!), then home.