Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Reasons to be Cheerful

Yesterday was the second warm day in a row, and a bit muggy; a weather condition that makes a person crabby. We improved our mood by climbing around a Franciscan abbey. 

As Artemis says, nothing cheers her up like a ruined church. 

This would be Muckross Abbey, in Killarney National Park. Built by Franciscans, the no-nonsense monks of the 15th century. Come for the castles, stay for the trees. 

There are several yews at this friary. One of them grows just outside the walls, the other inside the cloister. 

(Not my photo)

I did not know how similar they are to redwoods. Not just in their needles, but how they are toxic, and prevent other trees from growing around them. 

(Yew: my photo)

(coast readwood, linked)

(remaining photos by Artemis)

Inside the cloister, another yew has made a little plot of land all its own for more than 600 years. 

If I were to build a snug little community housing project, I'd put a yew tree right in the middle of it. In fact, this snug little community building is perfectly designed for group living and I would borrow its plan: public ritual room / performance space / art galleries on one side, private atrium for contemplative walks in the middle. Dorms, kitchen, storage, office, library....

The little stairs indicated on the plan are still there, and unlike in the States, you can explore up and downstairs, and enter dark rooms, bend under low ceilings, and never encounter a lawyer requiring signature of waiver. 

It would be a good idea for this proposed snug community housing project to include, as shown here, the windows overlooking a burial ground. Such design keeps perspective clear on issues of kitchen chores assignment.

The people who are buried here are from this immediate neighborhood, Muckross; the very street they lived on is carved in the headstone. Neighbors lying each other down together for 500 years. Pray for us. Remember us. Beloved. Mercy. 

In the end, it was the trees that lifted our spirits more than the ruined pile. There was this oak, and the black cattle below...

...and this one. What is its name? White bark, red crown, branches all bent up in the wind.... All alone in the middle of the field.... Looks like a....

Then, Pippin ate a horse candy, and we laughed and laughed. 

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