The Road to you.
Coming home, one of the greatest transitory joys we experience in life, the return to the familiar and comfortable, coming back to the things we know, things that are part of us.
For me this starts as I approach the crossroads, coming uphill from Ballykea, passing the homes of people I grew up with and others who were old when I was young. Passing in turn as I drive “Blackland House”, The Power Station, the impossibly small cottage where “Speck” Ferguson and his wife Kathleen raised a family, memories here of being thrilled by sparklers lined up in milk bottles on a dark cold Halloween night.
On further I pass the homes of older cousins, some now dead other gone, and then the stone cottage were I sat as a child listening to Biddy Downes telling tall tales of a life of servitude, tales that go back into the late eighteen hundreds, working in the big houses, poaching and robbing fruit and fire wood from the estates of lords ands ladies.
Biddy is long gone but her stories, tall or not are part of my childhood and I cling to them because losing them would be beyond awful.
Then “The Cross” with its roads running to the four points of the compass, ahead the road that will pass my ancestral home, the school I attended, the old village, the harbour and the sea. I pause here, leaning on the steering wheel and taking in the familiar sight. Beyond this point is Loughshinny, here is my life, my history and my memories. These days I turn right and drive the last few hundred meters to my current home and my little farm and my family, but in the earlier days before I took on the mantel of husband and father my feet would have taken the more familiar path towards the sea.
I know it well,
its rise and fall
each bend and twist,
I know them all.
Its narrow margins
Of standing hay
Where pearled cow parsley
Bloomed in may.
Now the ranks of autumn gold.
Set the banks ablaze with colours bold
That jostle out the dying ferns
Fossils brittle now as the season turns.
Feet know each stride along the track.
That lead me ever certain back
Childhood memories and simple ways
Winter cold and warm summer days.
This path returns to all I once knew.
And brings me safely back to you.
Dave Kavanagh December 2014