'Well, I think it makes a huge difference when you wake in the morning and come out of your house. Whether you believe you are walking into dead geographical location, which is used to get to a destination, or whether you are emerging out into a landscape that is just as much, if not more, alive as you but in a totally different form. And if you go towards it with an open heart and a real watchful reverence, that you will be absolutely amazed at what it will reveal to you. And I think that that was one of the recognitions of the Celtic imagination: that landscape wasn’t just matter, but that it was actually alive. What amazes me about landscape, landscape recalls you into a mindful mode of stillness, solitude, and silence where you can truly receive time.'
John O' Donoghue.
Some weeks ago we walked the epic 'Western Way' passing up and over the Connemara Mauméan Pass and dropping down into the Inagh Valley. In this part of the world, where O'Donoghue lived in his later years, the mountains feel impossibly alive, drooping, folding and melting. Great hulks of granite emerge from a shroud of clouds and in a moment come alive with streaks and puddles of sunshine.
Recently, we've been reading and listening to the words of John O' Donoghue. Strangely enough we came upon his work through his wonderful interview with Krista Tippet for the 'On Being Series'. Strangely, I say, because we live right in the midst of the landscape that O'Donogue lived in and wrote about so vividly. And I remember his books (on beauty, landscape and the celtic imagination) sitting on a shelf in our house when I was a teenager. But I never picked it up to open it. That is until now.
When we got home from a few days walking I discovered this radio series where O'Donogue, interviewed for Irish radio, walks the same path we walked up through the Mauméan Pass and dropping down into the liquid mountains of the Inagh Valley.
LISTEN OR READ:
Krista Tippet for the 'On Being Series'.