Wait for the Early Owl

In my beginning is my end. Now the light falls
Across the open field, leaving the deep lane
Shuttered with branches, dark in the afternoon…

The dahlias sleep in the empty silence.
Wait for the early owl.

Dawn points, and another day
Prepares for heat and silence. Out at sea the dawn wind
Wrinkles and slides. I am here
Or there, or elsewhere. In my beginning.

Home is where one starts from. As we grow older
the world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated
Of dead and living. Not the intense moment
Isolated, with no before and after,
But a lifetime burning in every moment
And not the lifetime of one man only
But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.
There is a time for the evening under starlight,
A time for the evening under lamplight

Love is most nearly itself
When here and now cease to matter.

~T. S. Eliot, verses from “East Coker” in Four Quartets

As I grow older I’m reminded daily of my limited point of view; I can scarcely peer past the end of my nose to understand the increasing complexity of the world around me – to look beyond, behind and through the here and now.

I’m not alone. For uncounted generations, people have sought answers when confronted with the indecipherable mysteries of existence here. We create monuments to the living and the dead to feel closer to them. We make up our own stories to explain the inexplicable.

The Word as given to us is all the story needed as all shall be revealed – still, we wait and wait, watching for Light to illuminate our darkness and Love laid down as never before.

Kilfeaghan dolmen
Goward Dolmen at the foot of the Mourne Mountains

The World is Wondrous Large

Legananny Dolmen, Northern Ireland
Legananny Dolmen, Northern Ireland

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yes, this dolmen is in the middle of a farm yard

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In the Neolithic Age savage warfare did I wage For food and fame and woolly horses’ pelt.

I was singer to my clan in that dim, red Dawn of Man, And I sang of all we fought and feared and felt.

Still the world is wondrous large,—seven seas from marge to marge— And it holds a vast of various kinds of man… ~Rudyard Kipling from “In a Neolithic Age”

Today we acted like archeologists in Northern Ireland, traveling the countryside looking for the numerous “dolmens” or stone formations from 4000-5000+ years ago constructed during the Neolithic period in human history.  These are considered “portal tombs” and like Stonehenge, may also have astrologic significance to these prehistoric peoples.  Interestingly, they are scattered across the Irish countryside, mostly found in farmyards and fields, with hardly a sign to show the way to find them.  In two cases, we needed to parkbeside a barn, open  (and close) several gates so the cows and sheep don’t get out,  to make our way to the dolmen.

The world is wondrous large indeed, as Kipling says in his homage to the Neolithics (and in the rest of the poem critiquing his fellow “modern” man).  To think that humans, way before the pyramids, way before Abraham walked the earth, managed to figure out how to honor their dead by constructing formations of multi-ton stones on top of one another.  They are so perfectly balanced to exist as they were intended for thousands of years.  A vast various kind of man did this, a singer to his clan, in the “red dawn” of human history.

I am awed and humbled.

Nothing I have done could ever last like this.

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Kilfeaghan Dolmen
Kilfeaghan Dolmen

This dolmen is above the Irish Sea
This dolmen is above the Irish Sea

Goward Dolmen at the foot of the Mourne Mountains
Goward Dolmen at the foot of the Mourne Mountains