It’s a good friend who will pull a spider from your hair when they aren’t so fond of spiders (I get a lot of spiders), and who will spend the day in the heat nerding out with you and your field guide to medicinal plants (and who will further research without you asking to be sure you guessed correctly), and who will listen to you blather on about your spiritual ideas even when she is more of the science minded without giving you “that look”. The husband sometimes gives me “that look”, but then that is why I love him.. he keeps me grounded.
We had not seen each other in awhile, busy with life and such.. so we spent the day on walkabout. Most of the greenway was flooded, but she managed to find just the most perfect spot where we could sit and talk about said life. It was right on the edge of the water.. earth meets water.. she’s drawn to the water, she told me. It really was a perfect spot. We eventually found our way over to the graveyard. I took my shoes off. We discussed the importance of concrete in holding the vampires down. Maybe the broken grave was the fault of a super strong vampire breaking out to help the others.. very serious stuff.
The groundskeepers had cut the arms off my tree, once overtaken with beautiful vines pulling its many limbs down to touch the ground. It made me very sad. I left an offering of hair beside the snake entwined in its twisty trunk. It is also a good friend who will not scream when you’ve almost laid your hand on a snake. We peered into an open hole beneath another stone where the bits had fallen in.. nothing there but more broken stone. For someone of science, she had the most uncanny ability to feel the draw of the children’s graves. I think she felt every one, even the ones with no lambs. She said they made her very sad. She’s an amazing mother, maybe that’s why. Later in the day after we parted, I found a moth and I had the thought – we should really go back and leave them toys.
The Children of Lir
Long ago there lived a king called Lir. He lived with his wife and four children: Fionnuala, Aodh, Fiachra and Conn. They lived in a castle in the middle of a forest. When Lir’s wife died they were all very sad. After a few years Lir got married again. He married a jealous wife called Aoife.
Aoife thought that Lir loved his children more than he loved her. Aoife hated the children. Soon she thought of a plan to get rid of the children.
One summer’s day Aoife took the children to swim in a lake near the castle. The children were really happy to be playing in the water. Suddenly Aoife took out a magic wand. There was a flash of light and the children were nowhere to be seen. All there was to be seen was four beautiful swans, with their feathers as white as snow.
Aoife said, “I have put you under a spell. You will be swans for nine hundred years,” she cackled. “You will spend three hundred years in Lough Derravaragh, three hundred years in the Sea of Moyle and three hundred years in the waters of Inish Glora,” Aoife said. She also said, “You will remain swans for nine hundred years until you hear the ring of a Christian bell.”
She went back to the castle and told Lir that his children had drowned. Lir was so sad he started crying. He rushed down to the lake and saw no children. He saw only four beautiful swans.
One of them spoke to him. It was Fionnuala who spoke to him. She told him what Aoife had done to them. Lir got very angry and turned Aoife into an ugly moth. When Lir died the children were very sad. When the time came they moved to the Sea of Moyle.
Soon the time came for their final journey. When they reached Inish Glora they were very tired. Early one morning they heard the sound of a Christian bell. They were so happy that they were human again. The monk (some even say it was St. Patrick himself) sprinkled holy water on them and then Fionnuala put her arms around her brothers and then the four of them fell on the ground. The monk buried them in one grave. That night he dreamed he saw four swans flying up through the clouds. He knew the children of Lir were with their mother and father.