It is wonderful to be in a good space after some emotional upheavals. I've realized what a steep learning curve is involved in a more idle life, how thinking a lot requires discretion and that one can never underestimate the power of companionship. As I sit here beside a blazing fire with the wind whipping about outside I am so grateful for lessons learned and new experiences. It feels like I'm shown a hundred miracles every day. It is such a blessing to be surrounded by such rugged beauty here on the island. Every day the scenery changes and anytime I think I know this place, a new and magnificent secret reveals itself.
I have a dog! A funny and incredibly earnest little Jack Russell who has become my constant companion. He belonged to my neighbors and when they went to the mainland for an bit, they asked me to look out for him. At first, I dutifully went to their house morning and night to let him in and out and feed him, but then I decided to just let him stay with me and the die was cast. When my neighbors returned, he continued to stay at my place and they told me it looked like I had a dog! He follows me everywhere and is the very best walking partner.
Dappy the Wonder Dog
My friend Frank from Australia came for almost a week and took some good hikes and did a lot of visiting with the locals. Frank is an affable guy and was on the hunt for information about Achill Island, up the coast from Inishturk, as his grandmother was from there! After Frank left, my friends Esther and Rick from Texas came for a week. As always, we took lots of walks and shared meals and late night talks. It was good to catch up! Returning home from a walk one afternoon, my neighbor Bernard stopped us on his way up from the harbour, asking if we'd like some fish. There, in a small trailer behind his vehicle, was a crate of fresh caught pollock. He handed me two and drove away. We ate well that evening!
What a gift!
Rick, Mary Jo, Esther and Doreen
In mid October, my sister Doreen returned to the States and I was sad to see her go. We had created a nice easy rhythm here and I so enjoyed her company. Before she left we took a weekend trip to Galway, a busy city a few hours south of Inishturk and discovered a weekend culture festival going on. We walked with throngs of people through the busy streets and rested our heads at a B & B in a quiet neighborhood just a few minutes walk from downtown. We then headed to Lahinch further down the coast, a small beach town where I'd WWOOFed last year. It's comprised of one main street and an expanse of beautiful coastline. We spent hours one afternoon sitting in a coffee shop watching surfers at the surf school there. She is planning on coming back to Inishturk next year for another long stay.
Winter on the island is so low key with few visitors. The Club has a slate of classes scheduled and it seems there are activities almost every day. I gave a bread class and expected 5 or 6 people to show up. I admit I was a bit overwhelmed when 13 folks crammed into the Club kitchen for a hands on class. It was fun and I was thrilled a few kids from the island joined us! There's also a walking group and we had our first walk yesterday. We started at the Club and discussed our strategy, then took off to the west side of the island.
The view at dusk looking towards Inishbofin island
Our Walking Group: Mary Ann, Me, Mary Catherine, Helen, Jack and Corena
We will be starting earlier in the day from now on and I know our numbers will increase!
Helen and Jack took me on a new walk to a beautiful and secluded beach.
I'm told it's a good spot for collecting seaweed.
Wild and wooly
What a backdrop!
The Harbour at night. Taken from inside the Club which explains the bit of glare in the middle of the photo.
A bench on a trail in Westport
Sunrise on Inishturk
Sunrise over Caher Island
Dappy patiently resting in a bed of seaweed as I explore the coast
WHAT A PLACE TO CALL HOME!
With all my visitors gone until Spring, I find myself writing a lot more and doing some baking. Next week I'll be cooking Thanksgiving dinner for the Islanders, bringing a bit of an American tradition to this tiny bit of Ireland. I can't help but remember all the years cooking Thanksgiving dinner at Cypress Springs Ranch as it was a highlight of my year. New memories are being made now and they are no less poignant for me. The more grateful I am, the better life becomes and the more I recognize the miracles that surround me.
Hope you're staying warm and feeling thankful.