Gardens also put an indelible stamp on my heart from the books I read. First and foremost among them was The Secret Garden. Then there were the gardens from Daphne Du Maurier's novels. If you have read Rebecca, you will forever remember the gardens of Manderly, and especially the 'Happy Valley' where rhododendrons and azaleas are pleasantly fragrant even in the rain, in colors of “salmon, white, and gold.” Again in My Cousin Rachel by Maurier, you would witness two different types of gardens. The Italian one in Rachel's Villa Sangalletti in Florence, and the English one in Cornwall (Remember the 'sunken garden'?) I am still enamoured by both of these 'literary' gardens.
A lone donkey grazed in a large filled full of yellow irises and other flowers that appeared like buttercups. You could see the backdrop of a mountain, and trees in the horizon. The donkey did not seem like he was in haste. He looked like he was at peace. Neck bent, head down in haze of green and yellow, he seemed far removed from the miseries of the world, and the unfairness, death and grief that rocked the world in the past year and more.
So much of our imagination and desires are rooted in the past - things that we have read about, seen or heard. I have always wondered, ever since I read Thumbelina as a child, what would it be like to sit atop a lily leaf and to float down the water e in a delightful little way?
As children and adults, we are often lured by ‘secrets’ – this promise of getting to know something that was hitherto unknown, or hidden. Of course, in the travel and hospitality industry, this word is often abused – ‘secret hideaways’, ‘secret getaways’ and the like. I have an inherent distrust of such deals or phrases, and sometimes they can also speak of privilege and exclusivity – as if some people are privileged enough to be able to gain access to these deals more than the others. Why were we then, on the trail of Donegal’s secret waterfall?
There are wooded walks leading to the waterfall. And all along the trail, you will hear it. This excited, boisterous, noisy child or a teen if you will is loud! It seems so eager to have a conversation with you; at some point, you want to say - Sush! Let me also get a word in, please!
About three weeks ago, both the husband and I noticed that a bee started making a regular appearance in our balcony. It usually comes twice a day - in the morning and then in the time frame between 3 to 4 pm. It goes from one flower to another, having its fill. It is fascinating to watch it arrive on time and hop from one flower to another. We have been at this apartment for about two years or so now. The bee only started making an appearance after we got home the purple flowers plant aka the deep blue/purple coloured Pericallis Senetti Daisy.
There was still time for the sun to emerge out of his slumber but the clues were there. It looked like the sun was out of his duvet, and just freshening up, his golden mane visible under the clouds. When he finally emerged, it was like fireworks in the sky - colours and sparks splattered across the vast expanse, his power and rage and light eclipsing everything else. Everyone stood still and watched, mobile cameras in hand.
Even if many such plans are cancelled with the new restrictions, it will be a small price to pay for the safety and health of everyone. Personally, the fact that I had a few absolutely beautiful days gives me the strength that if the coming months have more of social isolation, I will be okay. There's just so much loss and suffering around us because of Covid-19 that whatever problems the new restrictions might pose seem inconsequential in the larger scheme of things.
I have also realised in hindsight that the bit that is so magical about sunsets is also what happening around us, and not just in the skies. People returning from work, families laid out in parks and beaches, mountains and boulders on holidays, moments of leisure, of stolen kisses and romances. Of the boiled and salted peanuts enjoyed on a vacation while watching the sun go down, or a relatively dull day lifted up by the sheer brilliance in the sky, and the sense of community, a sort of shared experience that we get when you find that many other people are enjoying and rejoicing, sharing a similar pleasure as they watch the sun going down.
I know it sounds cheesy to start a piece by some very amateurish lines of verse. But some places are so magical, so other worldly that words begin to form, without effort, arranging themselves in neat lines like conscientious schools girls during morning assembly. Glendalough or the Valley of the Two Lakes is one such place.