SUNRISE AND SUNSETS
Seeking beauty and finding luck
Seek out Sunrises and sunsets and see what beauty there is to be discovered….
The sunset hours clashed with dinner time, and if Im honest interfered with my homely ‘Irish Aperitif' tradition. I do like a pint of Guinness when at my parents house, pre dinnertime. In doing so I couldn’t drive to see the sunset in all its glory. This and many other feeble excuses continued until one evening I dropped everything, put on some trainers and went on a instantaneous sunset quest . I walked instinctually towards the river bank near my house. Hidden discreetly on a corner hill I knew this was the best chance I had of getting high enough. With no directional confidence I simply followed the glowing windswept flames of red, yellow and purple mist. At the top of the pathway, light glimmered through the broken posts of a wooden fence and I followed the horizon line until visually restricted by rooftops . So in my final attempts to capture what I could I climbed onto someone’s wall, pulling myself up with the branches of a cherry blossom tree. I saw the most I was going to get that evening - a wink and a reminder that there was always tomorrow.
Caught up in the excitement of the chase I did wonder if I was looking for something else - an answer, a sense of direction or maybe the ability to let go. Starting afresh might be easier and So I put my faith in catching tomorrow’s sunrise. Conveniently, it came to me, appearing with the blink of an eye and framed perfectly at my window. As the previous night suggested the vast colour-soaked sky had me in awe. The next day called for an early morning adventure. Like a modern day Christopher Columbus, my dad (also Christopher) jumped into the car beside me with a pair of binoculars and a compass.The arrows swung back and forth from the twists and bends of the country roads, always chasing Northeast. Unwilling to accept defeat we put the premature brightness of the morning down to the twilight, hoping that the sun was still to rise.
Some might claim that Slemish mountain, situated within the Antrim glens of Northern Ireland is little more than a hill. Although the remnants of an extinct volcano and 1500 feet high, the reason it is so visible is because the rest of the surroundings are particularly flat. Of course as a child I considered it to be a goliath of a mountain and many days were spent adventuring with my family, listening to the legendary tales of St Patrick attending his sheep and chasing snakes out of Ireland. On many occasions I sworn to have seen a leprechaun skip around the mountain edge. Unwilling to give into failure my Dad suggested getting on the other side of the mountain so that we could cheat the rise hidden by the mountain peek. We rested on a rock and waited, aware that we had well and truly missed the boat. And yet we sat anyway, watching our surroundings. How wonderful is it to sit in silence with somebody I thought, as I remembered past times.
“Silence is not the absence of something, but the presence of everything”
When I was about twelve my Dad, two friends and I went on a Slemish mountain trek. I will never forget the moment a man, hiking stick and labrador on tow came over to say my Dad had fallen over. Thankfully I found him standing when I reached the bottom. Insisting he was fine, the kind man went on his way and my Dad drove my two friends home. I remember wishing my brother was there, as he had been learning to drive at the time. I watched my dad change the gears in obvious pain but I couldn't help. One week later my Dad was discharged from hospital having suffered a broken wrist, two fingers, two vertebrae in his spine and concussion. A plaster cast was moulded to his neck for 3 months and each day it reminded me of our luck. The doctors said he was one wrong movement away from being paralysed or worse. Associated with sickness and pain I begged my Dad to get rid of the burgundy knitted zip cardigan that he wore during this time. Ironically, we continued to climb Slemish mountain. My sister bought my dad a hiking stick for Christmas and against all of our concerns he reassured us that lightning doesn't strike twice. With fear and the burgundy jumper no longer present we looked forward to the new day and the new beginning that comes with it, aware of the little leprechaun who brought us luck that day.
Seeking out the sunrise was was a fun, spontaneous reminder to live life to its fullest. Whether we choose to chase sunsets, sunrises, rainbows or whatever, if we appreciate whats right in front of us and believe in Leprechauns we might just get really lucky.