“What I know of the spirit, I have learned not from books but from the land. Ireland is a great teacher, for it harks back to a pre-Cartesian world where mind and body and spirit were not yet artificially divided. Similarly, nature and humanity are not separated there.”
These words, from Patrician Monaghan, were among many quotable references in her book Red-Haired Girl from the Bog. When I heard, in 2012, that she had passed, I was devastated. I would never get to meet her. I would never get to read more of her writings on Ireland.
So I take what I can, these beautiful words from her time in Ireland. I take the lessons of conviviality, of living in community, of being a steward to the land.
May we take these lessons and connect with our own land, learn from the place where we are rooted. Instead of drinking the day away, let’s listen to the sound of a waning winter. Let’s welcome spring. Here in Illinois, it’s slow in coming, but coming nonetheless. What a lesson in patience. What a lesson from Ireland, from Patricia. What is your land teaching you?