The Third String.
Tales from a Dagda Bard
The Third String.
Tales from a Dagda Bard
The doorbell rang.
It's a noise I don't often hear in the house. If I'm expecting company then I would know by previous agreement and usually be waiting for the car to pull up outside or at the very least, my faithful hound to set a woof upon anyone approaching our territory.
Usually an unforeseen bell ring would indicate a door to door sales person or some missionary out doing their service. I confess that I don't answer the door to either and they invariably leave after the first attempt.
The doorbell rang.
Odd for it's repetition, curiosity peaked I moved from my distracted stupor, my grump becoming a grumble on the off chance that it's just a persistent sales person. With mind all set to provide a minimally polite refusal I opened the door, and lost my words and most of my thoughts all in one moment of recognition.
My hound bounded past my legs, but instead of a break out to chase up and down the street, he jumped to welcome the visitor with as much energetic vigor as that which he reserved for my own home comings.
"Come on. Get your coat."
The rumble of that voice rolled in through my ears and echoed in the sudden silence of my mind. To go from a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions to stillness shocked me to near insensibility.
As I scrambled to gather my shattered thoughts he crouched down to greet the hound affectionately, big strong hands gently ruffling the back of the dogs neck. The hound seemed completely relaxed in his presence then rolled on his back baring his throat and stomach, something he never does to strangers.
It was this incongruity that managed to snap some semblance of Self back into my shell.
"Hound! Go to bed."
As ever my tone was more than enough for him and with a lick at the Big mans hands he trotted off to his cushioned spot in the hall way.
"Listen, thanks for the visit but it's not a good time right now."
Those dark eyes of His fell upon me, reading through me as he let the silence roll on.
"Look, I'm not in a good head space at the minute. Things are on my mind and bothering me."
His eyes remained fixed and unblinking upon me as his arms came up to fold across this broad chest. Still that silence rolled on.
"My brain is not right at the moment, I would be no use to you."
One of his bushy eyebrows raised into an arch as he held his position. When the words came, there was no give in them.
"Lucky, I'm not after your brain, I just need the strength of your arms. Now get your coat."
With the words spoken he turned to walk down the garden. I turned to reach for my coat where it hung by the door.
"Oh, and bring the hound."
So it that was that. I found myself out in some field someplace down in a ditch, hands torn and stung from the nettles and brambles, swearing and straining to clear the area, my hound running amock around the space chasing the scents and sounds only he could perceive, and looking up to a broad pair of shoulders doing the same job in stoic silence.
In my blackness I had followed and said not a word.
In my blackness I had looked upon the task asked of me and said not a word.
In my blackness I had set to work and said not a word.
...but now with work near finished the pains had brought anger to my mind and the words would not be stayed.
"What the hell am I doing here? Why did you need me to do this? I have enough troubles of my own without getting caught up in some meaningless task in some no place!"
He turned slowly, tossing the last of the brambles aside and came about to face me, moving so that no more than a few inches separated us and my eyes were locked to his.
The anger in me writhed atop the deep blackness which had dominated my thoughts of late, and imaginings of me jerking my head forward to break his nose, then raising my knee into his groin, lashing out with all that anger and frustration, danced before my eyes.
He must have seen it. How could he not. Yet no backward step did he take, nor shift of posture to defend against me.
When his voice came it was naught but a whisper, breath hot against my face, the scent of sweat and earth filling my nostrils.
"Listen, you said to me. Yet you have been deaf to the land and the call this last while.
Look, you said to me, yet you have turned your eyes away from the world around you to escape into fiction.
There is nothing wrong with your brain but your thoughts deny you rest and your body suffers for it."
His words stole into me soft and subtle, gentle despite their power.
"You're over doing the thinking and not doing the acting, you amadan."
The small smile that accompanied the insult stole its sting, and with it my anger. I slumped to the edge of the ditch, body worn weary and thoughts too tired to feel anger any more, the tears came then. Rolling quietly down my cheeks and into my beard.
At that time a scuffling noise brought my gaze across the field to the gate, an elderly man was opening the way to allow some cows to enter. As he moved back to the herd they began to turn about and wander, milling about in confused circles, but the farmer gave a call and adjusted his position to block the wandering. With much huffing and maneuvering he eventually got the herd on the move and into the field.
"Inaction can on occasion be worse than incorrect action. Adjustments can be made whilst your moving, activity can be steered, course adjusted based in the needs of the moment, but only if you are going forward.
True it's good to think before you act, but when thinking becomes the only act, when your thoughts wander around and around, then you are not moving forward, you're circling the same decision.
Once the choice is made, you need to step bravely forward. Yes there will be lots of changes or variables or risks. Yes not everything will go your way, but if you do not move then you stay stuck in that moment, caught up in your fears, and life becomes just a clock of ticking breaths waiting to end."
At this point my tears had run dry and the catch of my breath had eased to a slow rhythm. I was so tired, but my mind at least was at its ease. I glanced up to to see the old man looking towards us with a smile on his wrinkled face, waving and beckoning us over.
"So this was about getting me out of myself so I would take some perspective then."
He looked away for a moment to wave to the old man. When he looked back there again was that smile of mischief on his broad face.
"Nope! Paddy cooks a mean steak and he needed that ditch cleared. It would have taken me twice as long on my own. Hard as I know it is, sometimes all you have to do is get over yourself."
Dagda softened the sting with a broad wink then turned to stroll off and with a whistle my dog came bouncing along to his call.
"Be sides not everything is about you ya know."
As him rumbling chuckle reached the now calm stillness of my spirit, I couldn't help but feel a smile grow on my face.
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An Scéalaí Beag