Why are hobbits and saying ‘yes’ to adventure on my mind? 1. I need a good reminder about WHY I’m here, 2. I’ve been re-reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Tolkien’s world makes me feel good. Well, truth be told, I actually weep a lot when I read his stuff, but it does make me believe I CAN …. YES, I CAN! … or at least I should … live my life with fullness and strength. With integrity and conviction. Most importantly, with courage.

I’m a wimp in real life. Not always on the outside where people can see me, but inside, where it often counts the most, I am occasionally a cowering little puppy whimpering for my master to pat my head and reassure me I needn’t bother checking that noise outside on this cold night.

Tolkien’s characters inspire me to believe I can be a stout hearted hobbit, or a noble ruler of Westernesse, or a brave warrior of Rohan. Best of all, I am inspired that the world IS a place full of wonder and magic, where trees walk under moon light and birds bring messages of hope and friendship. My heart yearns to roam, like the fair Elves; seeking to understand the beauty of the world around me.

And that’s why I’m here. There is love, there is friendship, there is a lust for adventure and desire to embrace all life brings me, but before those things there was wonder and awe at the history and folklore of this Island. Ireland Herself has been wooing me for years with Her stories and beauty.

There is a continuity of ancient belief and practice seamlessly woven into modern (or at least recent) life here that compels me to learn more. I gobble up with hungry eyes and ears all I can find and have time to research. Living on this land has awoken the stories for me and within me. Stories. What power they have in our lives.

Also, the story we tell OF our lives. Am I a victim, whose entire village was taken over by a deposed wizard while I sat comfortably beside the fire sipping tea telling myself how terrible the world is these days? Am I a confident, battle tested hobbit (read: ordinary person who has lived and learned through life’s challenges) who sees the difficulty for the opportunity it is and rises to the occasion by kicking a$$ and taking names?

Is it all within my power or am I powerless? Good question. Do I possess the power to make everything in the world the way I want it? Probably not. Do I have the power to be all that I am (authentically myself) and do my small part? If I’m brave.

And that is the point! In Tolkien’s stories each character does nothing more than live fully and completely. They walk their own path, being wholly themselves. If at any moment any one of them had ceased being all they are… the pretty and the not so pretty … the story would have altered and the task possibly not completed.

I’m in Ireland because I want to learn about story as embodied in the land and the people. I’m in Ireland because I fell in love. I’m in Ireland because I’m not dead yet, and I want to grab my opportunities by the horns and ride them for all they are worth!

On a slightly different but related topic, I’m learning about Cliodhna (Klee-uh-na). Seems She is pretty important in these parts and I am searching for Her in both mythology and folkloric custom, belief and story. I know she appears in local folklore as a Banshee or Fairy Queen of South Munster, with specific landmark associations in Cork. Lady Gregory mentions her as being the daughter of the chief druid in Manannan’s country, and tells how she fell in love with a mortal man from Ulster and the Annals of the Kingdom say she is the “familiar sprite of the south of Ireland”.

I wonder about a few things… 1. Have you heard of Cliodhna? 2. How do you tell the story of your own life? 3. What’s for dinner? 🙂

Cork Beach and hidden sea caveCork Beach; hidden sea cave