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Bliss In A Deluge
Cottage on the Isle of Dough

And it rained and rained and then one day it didn’t, and so I wore my yellow plastic rain jacket and rain pants anyway. I was living in Ireland at the time, 2017, in one of those white-washed Irish cottages with a red door, on the Isle of Dough in Inishowen, County Donegal. I’d dreamed of living in one of those cottages every time I saw a photo of one, and by Amma’s Grace, one came to me during my year-long stay there.

My cottage stood on the high end of a long slope of a sheep pasture overlooking Trawbreaga Bay that curved around the Isle of Dough. All of Ireland seems to be about circles—the circle on the Celtic Cross, ancient standing stone circles, the many round goddess temples (older than the Egyptian pyramids) that were built along the River Boyne. In ancient times, before the invinvasion of the Celts, Ireland had been a goddess culture, with Mother Nature at the center of it all.

And so there I was on this summer day, dressed for rain, walking along under a blue and relatively cloudless sky. In Ireland you can never know about the rain and when it might come. I’d driven to a field a couple of miles down the road from my cottage to a spot where I often began my walk to the beach. As I strolled along the pathway through the grasses and among the various high knolls, the weather was calm, with only a light breeze. Then, after a few minutes, as I reached the top of a little rise, suddenly the wind whipped up, bringing with it a black cloud fast approaching. I was out in the open. I saw no other choice but to stand still and chant my mantra. I was caught in a deluge. Turning my back to the downpour, I reveled in the sound of the rain on my plastic jacket and the feel of it pelting my back.

When the rain slowed, I could see more black clouds blowing towards me, more ominous than the first one. And so I ran down the hill, down the trail lined with tufts of long pointy grasses, past the lion-man, the ancient troll who guards the narrow pathway, and down and down the now sandy trail to the shore. My rain jacket kept me dry, but my rain pants leaked, and my knees were soaked. I navigated my way across the golf-ball-sized pebbles, stepping gingerly, plotting the way over wobbly wet stones, until my feet touched hard sand on the shores of Trawbreaga Bay. I picked up speed and sprinted around the bend where I ducked into a cave.

From inside the cave
From inside the cave

The rain fell in sheets, waving like wind-blown curtains, opening to mysteries unknown, unseen. The tide was partly out, leaving glass-like mirrors in the sand, sheets of rain reflecting there, and the light beyond the black clouds shining in the sandy mirror and in the falling rain. In the distance, across the narrow channel leading into the bay, cliffs rose up from the Atlantic to the high green hills of Donegal’s Seven Sister Mountain range, and down from there, directly across the water from where I stood are Seven Sister sand dunes.

The cave where I’d sought shelter, smelling of moist sand, mossy rock, and old seaweed, allowed me the perfect dry spot for viewing glory and spectacle of the storm. I remembered I was inside the very cave that had been made famous by the movie “A Shine of Rainbows,” about a lonely orphan boy who makes friends with a baby seal. The boy’s adoptive mother teaches the boy how to sing in a way that causes rainbows to appear and in doing so to call his seal friend to him. The lore around seals in Ireland is well-known, as it is the land where selkies hide, and if you have the eyes to see, you might catch a glimpse of one.

The boy in the film is healed through the love of his seal friend and his adoptive mother’s nurturing care. In my own imagination I envisioned that the baby seal’s mother might have been a selkie whose very home was the cave in which I was standing. In any case, the feeling of magic in that cavern was palpable, ancient and storied.

Sand mirror
Sand mirror

There was no rainbow with my storm today, no sun to bring out the colors. But there was enough light and drama in the cloud formations to give any poet inspiration. I, for one, was in a state of rapture. Eventually, the rain stopped. I gave a bow to our beloved Amma for the experience she had gifted me, and to the ancient stone beings that live in the rocky cliffs along that shore. Stepping out of the cave, I moved along down the beach, with a feeling of awe, and of reverence in my heart, remembering all the while what Amma tells us - Creator and Creation are One.

Savitri L. Bess - Port Hadlock, WA


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