Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Autumnal Equinox

Prior to going to Ireland I was online doing research to see if there were any cultural events going on in the area of our stay related to art shows, workshops, book signings/author visits or lectures - that sort of thing. I think subliminally I wanted to see if there would be a reason for me to stay a bit longer as I had given up a writer’s workshop that was to be that same weekend in Florida as well as an artist workshop that was to be the weekend I returned. Not that these would keep me from going to Ireland but with my husband out of town and my daughter off to college I had put these two weeks in September on the calendar as my “art and writing time” so why not find a great place to do that in Ireland!? Well, I just happened to stumble across two things during this online search that changed my life. One of them was discovering The Burren College of Art. I bookmarked the webpage after learning they held summer workshops that were 5 days of intensive [insert art, theater, writing, etc] workshops but of course these had all ended and so I signed up for their newsletter and explored what one had to do to become an artist in residence and put it off for another time.  That next week we were driving around and through The Burrenon our way to Galway from the Cliffs of Mohor (this is like driving through the desert here, it is a very impressive and large area of balding hills covered with rows of rocks that almost seemed to have been placed by hand and with no trees) when at one point we pulled aside by an entrance to a farm to take pictures. The Burren was actually across the way but finding a place to pull over is always a challenge on the narrow roads so a driveway is usually the best bet. We had been stopped for only a few minutes when I happened to notice this sign on the stone wall.  I could not believe it. I stared at it for the long time it took my brain to connect that this was the very place I spoke to by email the week before and had hoped to find but didn’t put on the “must see” list. And here, here we had just literally stumbled at her doorstep just like these many rocks from glacial times. We drove up the long narrow drive with large meadows on either side of her stone walls and quietly reviewed the small family of buildings and took some more photos. It was a perfect place for an art and/or writing retreat as well as a very small but dedicated college of art. It was like a farm with just the right balance in size as well as form and function (some very old Irish historical-like buildings, some new additions had been made with all-glass walls).  I had to just sit in the car and breath it all in for a few minutes. I still have the image of this moment etched into my soul and I meditate on whether this encounter was by chance or by fate and whether I’ll be back. Attending an art or writing retreat would be ideal in Ireland however yesterday I was online to check out a poetry link a former colleague had sent me and was perusing the locations for poetry readings and saw a name of a local college of art that I was unaware of. I went to that site and discovered it is very much like, at least from the pictures, the Burren College of Art and it is just about 30 minutes away! So I quickly searched to see what they had going on and bumped into a notice about a one-day, all-day painting workshop that is taking place...this Saturday! Again, is this fate?  How does this happen? Does art come to us or are we more open to searching for it? I think it’s in the balance of things - when we are balanced we are more open to being in sync with the earth’s axis. Not riding the orbit but being a part of it. So I hope they have room for one more this Saturday and if so I’ll share the results. As to that other thing I stumbled across while researching Ireland that changed my life? More on that tomorrow. Java! - yf - 

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