To walk upon the rocky road is easy.
Easy, still, it is to reach the cliffs at the road’s end.
What to do upon arriving though?
That’s the ticket.
Stone, gravel, sand; openness.
Rocky plain spread in all directions. A new beauty is born on the island of Inis Mór.
Inis Mór, the largest of the Aran Islands, is the source of the greatest curiousness I’ve grappled in Ireland yet. Only with a heart of journey may one come upon this place of stark stone and green grass. A bus, a boat, a bike; an alliterative expedition led over curving highway, grey ocean, and coastal drives. The island appears from the mist of the sea on the horizon from the rumbling ferry and its vast size is clear; the journeyer within leaps and cries out with anticipation. A new place, all our own, until the ferry leaves.
If one ascends to the tallest flat of Inis Mór, he would come upon the prehistoric fort of Dún Aonghasa. He would be welcomed to the cliff edge; dared to look down. He would be drawn to the fort itself, walk through the narrow entrance, and be surrounded by stone or sheer drop on all sides. A question would necessarily enter his mind, “What do I take from this?” He may laugh at the irony of his situation: his inability to understand his connection to this place so far away from his home while knowing damn well that the connection exists and is more powerful than, perhaps, any other sensation of connectedness. “What does this mean?” he thinks silently to himself. “Why does this feel so necessary and meaningful?” he ponders while entranced by the sapphire and foam ocean roaring in rhythm with the base of the tall cliff upon which he lays prone.
Although I experienced everything the role of the traveler in the story above, the trip has become a story to tell. By telling the story and removing myself, I can hope to gain insight to the questions presented above. To which part of us does natural, unmovable, patient beauty appeal? How can I, as a living, transient observer show respect to a place that has held the living world for thousands of years? Most of all, what can I take away from a day like the one spent at Inis Mór.
I don’t have answers, but the insight I’ve gained in the weeks proceeding the trip has been bountiful and helpful. The path which makes itself most clear suggests an interconnectedness; a forming of a network of ideas. By seeing, tackling, and questioning the beauty and slow power of such natural and historical places, I invest in my own future. The potentiality for serendipity in my life has increased by a hugely significant, yet indescribable amount.
Until next time,