O. R. Melling
Grief: The Tour – Interactive Map
Move your mouse pointer over a numbered red dot to bring up a popup information box.
The red dots are numbered in the order the locations were visited.
Grief is a strange journey. I cannot shelter in place. I must move. Mad Sweeney Woman, I’ll wander the land with my sorrow and seek solace in other souls
Crossing the River Dargle on way out of Bray to head north for County Monaghan.
My fellow workers are young laughing men who try to convince me that the world is flat.
I return to the Buddhist centre in County Cavan to where I retreated the month before, and fall into the embrace of my dharma family.
I stay a few days in my old room overlooking the lake, meditating in the Shrine Room, walking through the woods, eating quiet meals with the rest of the community.
Balm for the soul.
Crossing the River Shannon into the magical mystical West …
On Traught Beach in County Galway I wander over sea-smoothed stones with the friend who convinced me to attend my mother’s funeral. They were last seen heading north with a lame dog, under the stars, singing.
Heading out in the morning, due north, I stop first to see a sculpture made by my brother-in-law. An installation in Oranmore’s tiny police station, it’s a giant silvery metallic finger print.
(Artist: James Hayes)
The sun is falling into the rim of the sea. This is the small town where my daughter lives and surfs, weaving her dream of a life outside big cities.
I meet her by the fairy bridge, an arch of land that rises over the waves which roar beneath it.
And when she brought me to the sculpture woods of Gleniff, there perched a great metal crow.
I detour to join friends for some madcap mayhem and a feast of curry and rice with a ziggurat of poppadums.
In Boyle, the picture of a crow hung on the door opposite The Book Lady, the smallest bookstore in Ireland.
We stop at a viewing point that reveals the curved hills of a female body and a green face gazing skyward. The grey circular ruin of the pre-Christian Grianan of Aileach rests on her belly. Omphalos. O Sleeping Woman. O Divine Mother.
And now here, in Derry City, a painting by Christine Johnson Hume, daughter of the Nobel Peace Prize politician John Hume: Crow over the Peace Bridge
Teamhair na Riodh, Tara of the Kings, the royal seat of ancient Ireland. I walk the airybreadth of grassy earthworks and mounds, recalling the time I came here with my mother.
When we were leaving, she stopped to watch a circle of dancers weave around the pillar of the Lia Fail, the Stone of Destiny. I caught the longing in her features, the urge to join them, and knew at last the source of my own spiritual hunger.
Mum by the Lia Fail.
O Sleeping Woman, O Divine Mother
To thee do we cry
Homeward bound as the evening light Fades. I am a refugee from a family war, fleeing death and domestic disaster. Solace I found in my wanderings but no solution. No absolution.
Our Family Hemp Farm (photo credit: Kama Hemp)
M50 image, Wikipedia M50, public domain
All other images © O.R. Melling
Map © O.R. Melling