John Rollin Ridge, 1827 – 1867
I look upon the purple hills
That rise in steps to yonder peaks,
And all my soul their silence thrills
And to my heart their beauty speaks.
What now to me the jars of life,
Its petty cares, its harder throes?
The hills are free from toil and strife,
And clasp me in their deep repose.
They soothe the pain within my breast
No power but theirs could ever reach,
They emblem that eternal rest
We cannot compass in our speech.
From far I feel their secret charm—
From far they shed their healing balm,
And lost to sense of grief or harm
I plunge within their pulseless calm.
How full of peace and strength they stand,
Self-poised and conscious of their weight!
We rise with them, that silent band,
Above the wrecks of Time or Fate;
For, mounting from their depths unseen,
Their spirit pierces upward, far,
A soaring pyramid serene,
And lifts us where the angels are.
I would not lose this scene of rest,
Nor shall its dreamy joy depart;
Upon my soul it is imprest,
And pictured in my inmost heart.
Film Friday, Irish landscape photography, Sally Gap, Wicklow Mountains, The drama of 35mm slide film
From all the possible 35mm films you could use for landscape photography, I feel that slide transparency film offered the most drama and colour depth to each shot you took. Clearly you still needed to me there at the time you found the best lighting and weather conditions but to myself there was no better film available that captured dramatic colours and tones.
This image was taken on a very moody evening, sometime back as I was walking alone the road of the Sally Gap….
Sally Gap, Wicklow Mountains
On the road to Sally Gap, there are spectacular views of the surrounding blanket bog and the Wicklow Mountains. Sally Gap is one of two east-to-west passes across the Wicklow Mountains. Sally Gaps is a cross-road that leads you North to Dublin, West to Blessington, South to Glendalough or East to Roundwood.
the Sally Gap got its road after the Irish rebellion of 1798. It was built by British Army forces looking to flush rebels from the hills, and to this day is known as the Military Road.
Whatever about giving the army a better view of the rebels, the Military Road certainly provides an enviable view of some of Ireland’s most filmed scenery.
Highlights of this winding, twisting feat of engineering include the Glencree valley, the dark waters of Lough Tay, Kippure Mountain and Glenmacnass Waterfall.
Two more unusual stops are Glencree’s Visitor Centre, originally built to house soldiers guarding the pass (and now a centre for Peace and Reconciliation), and the Glencree War Cemetery, a resting place for German soldiers who died in Ireland.
Horses in Snow
By Roberta Hill
They are a gift I have wanted again.
Wanted: One moment in mountains
when winter got so cold
the oil froze before it could burn.
I chopped ferns of hoarfrost from all the windows
and peered up at pines, a wedding cake
by a baker gone mad. Swirls by the thousand
shimmered above me until a cloud
lumbered over a ridge,
bringing the heavier white of more flurries.
I believed, I believed, I believed
it would last, that when you went out
to test the black ice or to dig out a Volkswagon
filled with rich women, you’d return
and we’d sputter like oil,
match after match, warm in the making.
Wisconsin’s flat farmland never approved:
I hid in cornfields far into October,
listening to music that whirled from my thumbprint.
When sunset played havoc with bright leaves of alders,
I never mentioned longing or fear.
I crouched like a good refugee in brown creeks
and forgot why Autumn is harder than Spring.
But snug on the western slope of that mountain
I’d accept every terror, break open seals
to release love’s headwaters to unhurried sunlight.
Weren’t we Big Hearts? Through some trick of silver
we held one another, believing each motion the real one,
ah, lover, why were dark sources bundled up
in our eyes? Each owned an agate,
marbled with anguish, a heart or its echo,
we hardly knew. Lips touching lips,
did that break my horizon
as much as those horses broke my belief?
You drove off and I walked the old road,
scolding the doubles that wanted so much.
The chestnut mare whinnied a cloud into scrub pine.
In a windless corner of a corral,
four horses fit like puzzle pieces.
Their dark eyes and lashes defined by the white.
The colt kicked his hind, loped from the fence.
The mares and a stallion galloped behind,
lifting and leaping, finding each other
in full accord with the earth and their bodies.
No harm ever touched them once they cut loose,
snorting at flurries falling again.
How little our chances for feeling ourselves.
They vanished so quickly—one flick of a tail.
Where do their mountains and moments begin?
I stood a long time in sharpening wind.
Irish Landscape Photography : February’s frost and snow along the river , River Suir , County Tipperary
As we say Goodbye to February and Hello to the Springtime month of March, we are still in the middle of a very cold week here in the southest of Ireland. This month has been one of the best for mixed weather that I can remember, we started the month wet and windy but then the weather turn much warmer and you could just start to imaging that the spring was on its way 🙂
This week , the final week of the Month has however been the most interesting end to the Month of February for some years, we awoke here in Kilkenny to some snow but only about 1cm, further north in Dublin and the Wicklow mountains they had some 10cm of snow overnight with about 20cm in places by the end of the day light hours today.
The fun however is only about to being, starting from 4pm tomorrow the south of the country is going to be hit by a storm (Emma) heading our way along the French west coast as I post and making land fall in both Ireland and Cornwall in the UK at the same time.
Overnight Thursday into Friday it is predicted that we will receive high winds of around 40 MPH and about 8cm of snow.
The main risk however will be from the high winds as this will of course increase the chance of the snow drifting, its a worry at this time of year as many farmers will have animals outside ready for the spring season. There has however been good notice of whats to come so hopefully there has been time to bring in sheep and livestock.
The only blessing could be that with the Springtime only just around the corner, when it stops snowing the temperatures should recover much more quickly that would be the case in the middle of the winter season.
The last time I experienced such cold winter weather was on a winters visit to the Welsh hills to visit a friend Sandy, here are some of the images from that visit.
While the Snow and Cold can bring hardship at times the landscape views it can bring are wonderful 🙂
Gallery of the Welsh hills in Winter
This winter here in Ireland has been more cold and wet than dominated by ice and snow , yet we have had more short spells of icy conditions than normal.
Now almost at the end of the winter, according to both the met office in Ireland and the UK we are about to experience our coldest week for many years. The daytime temperatures will have to fight to get over -1oc . with some 25cm of snow predicted from Tuesday evening until Saturday. The following weekend looks like bringing warmer weather back and a return of the spring, these kind of cold fronts in the weather can however end up sticking around for longer than expected.
Keep Warm everyone get lots of food in and fuel for the fire and enjoy what could be the last blast of this winter 🙂 Here comes the Beast from the east.
Snow in the Irish landscape
This Morning the 6th February 2018, Images from the very cold and snow covered hills of the Nire Valley in county Waterford.
It was great to see the winter snows back again …..
Blackbirds are, for some people, considered a good omen. Others believe that the Blackbird brings the lessons learned in meditation. It is also associated with travel to the Otherworld and the mysteries found there. Blackbird people are good to call upon when spiritual matters are at hand, and often, while rare, they are the best people to have when in a group.
The blackbirds iridescent black plumage holds the energies of mysticism and magic. Druid legends say that the birds of Rhiannan are 3 blackbirds which sit and sing in the World tree of other worlds. Their singing puts the listener into a sleep or a trance which enables him or her to travel to the otherworld. It was said to impart mystic secrets.
Those with this medicine often have a hypnotic influence on others as well as an uncanny ability to move between the seen and unseen worlds with clarity. They make excellent shamans and trance channellers.
Blackbirds are timid and prefer their own company over the company of others. In humans shyness and insecurity in group settings is common. Vulnerable to outside influences those with this totem need to remember to clear accumulated influences from their energy field on a regular basis. The male’s distinctive song during breeding season is loud and melodious with flute like qualities. Males often sing from high perches and both sexes produce a variety of sounds which include mimicking other birds.
Blackbird medicine people love to sing and have the ability use their voice to heal and inform. They are also good ventriloquists.
Blackbirds spend much of their time on the ground. Its locomotion includes walking, climbing and hopping forward and backwards. They forage for food in open spaces although cover is always near by. When foraging in leaf litter under trees they sound like people walking . In humans this suggests an ability to remain grounded in the earth energies while walking a spiritual path.
When resting the blackbird is frequently seen stretching, legs extended back, side wings in full extension, tail spread, and the head tilted to one side as if listening. Yoga and movement therapy are beneficial for those that hold this totem. The blackbirds flights are low, short and undulating but fast and direct over open country. They move with determination and focus and can teach us how to do the same.
When blackbird flies into your life your connection with nature and the forces of creation increase. The magic of the underworld surfaces in your life. Awareness is heightened and change on a cellular level begins. The blackbird teaches you how to acknowledge your power and use it to its fullest
The Day The Snow Finally Came
© Kathleen E. Sorensen
Published: March 13, 2017
“It’s the middle of winter,” they would say,
But I just stared in dismay.
“How could it be winter without a blanket of snow?”
They said, “We do not know.”
I waited hours, I waited weeks,
Yet you could still see those mountain peaks.
“The snow will not come this year,” I thought.
Not a single dot.
I wanted to build a beast of a snowman this year
And sled down those snow hills with no fear.
Ski around the maze of trails with ease,
Seeing all the lovable white trees.
Then one day I saw something fall,
And it was so very small.
There were millions of them coming.
Oh, it was stunning!
The sun made the snow sparkle like glitter.
It was a real homerun hitter!
Today the snow will fall all day,
Leaving a path of fun on its way.
I immediately had chills run up my spine.
This is my heart’s sunshine.
I love the snow so very much,
And I ran outside to hear it crunch.
Freedom of the Hills
By: Douglas Fraser – 1968
Mine is the freedom of the tranquil hills
When vagrant breezes bend the sinewy grass,
While sunshine on the widespread landscape spills
And light as down the fleet cloud-shadowed pass.
Mine, still, that freedom when the storm-clouds race,
Cracking their whips against defiant crags
And mists swirl boiling up from inky space
To vanish on the instant, torn to rags.
When winter grips the mountains in a vice,
Silently stifling with its pall of snow,
Checking the streams, draping the rocks in ice,
Still to their mantled summits I would go.
Sun-drenched, I sense the message they impart;
Storm-lashed, I hear it sing through every vein;
Among the snows it whispers to my heart
“Here is your freedom. Taste – and come again.”