The official summer solstice occurred last night
at 23:59, a minute before midnight as we plunged
through the bogs & vales of North Mayo in our
little red car, solitary travelers in a landscape
on the cusp of summer. On Monday night, bonfires
will flare into the night as the Irish celebrate St. John's Eve.
We have great heaping piles of gorse in the yard,
which would make fantastic bonfire fodder, but
the ever-present wind on this cove might send
it tumbling down the lane. Wouldn't want to set
Carrowholly afire! Last summer solstice, we drove
back to the house after a late supper, and even
in the rain, we saw people hunkered in their yards under
umbrellas, taking-in the spark and crackle
of their St. John's Eve blaze.
The woman who looks after our house when we're away
stopped by yesterday -- Rose Fields (that's really her name!)
As always, she carried with her a bounty of blossoms from her
garden -- delphinium, larkspur, sweet peas, cornflowers,
valerian, daisies, Canterbury bells. Rose is an Irish posey
unto herself: a kink of wind-tousled red hair and always dressed
in assorted tones of pink/red/purple, she talks a blue-streak
and then suddenly, seemingly without having taken a single
breath, says "bye now!" And is gone. Whoosh!
She's a wealth of information on the local flora, and knows
at least half of the 4,500 population of Westport.
And for all you punctuophiles out there,
don't miss this piece from Slate.
I'll be laughing all day!
(Long Live the Semi-Colon.)