springtime on Rathlin

It’s spring in Ireland. It kicks in like clockwork on the 1st of February, St Brigid’s day, the spring season running from February to April. I’m in Ireland to greet its impatient arrival, on Rathlin, at my home in Mullindress. And here it is, summoned, the spring peering from a burrow like a rabbit outthinking the passing buzzard. The whin is beginning to flower, the trees are ever so cautiously budding and the birds are emerging, curious and expectant. We’re in the flush of a new beginning.

New beginnings are what take us places, we’re carried from palm to palm, one hand of tomorrow passing us through the shadows into the next, light splinters interrupting the darkness from tiny gaps in curled fingers.

For my beautiful little grandson Harris everything is a beginning, a possibility. Meanwhile the next little boy is waiting in the wings, a fledgling, nourished by his mother, the days gathering strength and resilience for him in preparation for arrival in summer. Another grandson, another boy to cherish and keep a watchful eye over during the passing seasons.

The excitement when I think about his arrival is palpable but I’m careful not to push too far towards the future. The days that are with us are to be savoured. Memories have to be created, we need to leave something behind in every moment we share or there’s nothing to who we are. We disappear beyond the horizon, forgotten, unrecognisable even to the stars.

When I look out the window in Mullindress I can hear the laughter, imagine my grandsons playing in the big garden, stopping every now and then to remember Tommy and allow him to share in their memories, be part of who they are and always will be. It’s so tempting to dwell on that excitement but when I close my eyes I can see and hear my own children in the same space, laughing, running, creating memories from my distant shadow, the path already worn by my own footsteps.

This moment is their past, an integral part of who they will be in the future and that makes each moment so powerful, special, compelling. And scary; you, me, all of us, with the world rocking in our arms, our hearts beating alongside the stillness of the sea, the spring breeze blowing in our face, moulding the future, shedding light that warms again.

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