This sunny Sunday I decided to go on a solitary walk, away from the tarmac and on to the old roads used these days by the farmers and their cattle. Walking speed is reduced to an amble once you leave the council road. It suited my purpose, giving time to listen and enjoy the surroundings; as well as to think.
I noticed cows with calves in one field taking shelter from the hot sun and a large bull looking benign, standing quietly in his paddock on the opposite side of the road. I raised my camera and asked him to look at me 'I want to see the whole of your face please ?' and he turned his great head remaining in pose until I said 'Thank you'.
My route led me to one of this land's three sister rivers The River Barrow, the other two are the Nore and the Suir which rise within a few miles of each other, to meander through familiar named places and join as one great river that flows into the sea at Waterford. The Barrow, perhaps named after the goddess Berba, runs a few hundred metres to the rear of our home, to a place where it is both narrow and shallow, providing a ford for sturdy tractors. The banks are about 3 metres above the rivers' summer level and a footstick leaps the gap.
Here at the ford I stopped. It is truly our nearest sandy beach, one that on quiet summer afternoons when I lived alone, I would visit with a book, my pipe, a bottle of wine to while away time in peace and in perfect harmony with nature. Today I sat for a while and listened to the babbling Barrow as it flowed over stones. The sound isn't constant, it has a rhythmic sequence. It was to rivers such as these that
the bardic-filidh came to compose their poetry and to travel in a shamanic way.
As I looked at the shallows there was a shoal of pinkeens, or you might call them tiddlers or fry, they were darting in and out of the shallows, I was very conscious that it was the vibration from my movement on the bank that made them quite so active and so I stood still as possible to get the best photo of them.
From across the other side of the river, there came the sound of a cow pumping water. ref www.riferam.com/pasture/index.htm
She was a brown cow one of those with baleful eyes, as she finished drinking and came near me, I asked her to come closer to fill the lens and she did. Following this I tuned and ambled along only to see a smallish animal running towards me, at first I thought it might have been a hungry fox, then I realized it was a hare and by the time I had the camera up it had disappeared from sight. Similar thing happened with a field of sunbathing rabbits, that as soon as I stepped closer they all bolted. Perhaps I could have a camera attached to my hat so that the raising of an eyebrow takes a snap; I am able to raise one higher than the other just in case you are wondering.