The Third String.
Tales from a Dagda Bard
The Third String.
Tales from a Dagda Bard
Part of my brain knows it's caused by the diffusion of light entering our atmosphere. The molecules which make up our planet's air slightly inhibit the passage of one particular wave length of light as it moves through. This slows it enough so the human eye can register the wavelength as a distinct input known as colour and defined as blue.
That part is useful for the knowing of things, but it can't measure, quantify or completely express the beauty of the sky's azure mantle as I gaze up at it.
Eire is known for its greenery, the emerald isle and such. What they don't tell you is that all that green is well watered by the regular rolling presence of cloud and rain. Thing is, no plant can grow without light. At times the clouds are peeled back and reveal the open expanse of the heavens in all their blue swathed glory, the bright sun streams down upon the land and every time I'm compelled to stop, and take a moment to appreciate the sky.
I shared this quiet moment with one other, away from the city and its bustle, its people moving to and fro, eyes set on the destination and missing the beauty of the scenery on the journey.
"I will be up there again soon."
It was the first words spoken in this meeting. I had arrived with a request to his Rath and found him atop the mound stretched out on the green grass, arms folded up and behind, with big hands cradling his head. I had watched the rise and fall of his broad chest, slow and steady, his eyes open and gazing without focus at the sky.
I did what anyone should, I joined him for a while.
Simple relaxed unfocused, breathing slowly and deeply. Synchronized breath, sharing the space and not needing to fill it with anything more than the ever present beauty which surrounded us.
I can't say how long we lay on the green grass, beneath the blue sky, warmed by the yellow sun, but I had purpose here and so came the words.
"I don't think I'm built for the sky. Too much of the heavy footed land stomping to me."
I had no need to shift my gaze, I knew I had his attention, though he gave no outward indication. Trust me, when Dagda's attention is upon you, you Will Know.
"America. near enough the other side of the world. My Love is going to do the work there and I'm her roadie, tech support, and coffin full of dirt."
The basso rumbling chuckle was the first noise he had made, knowing the joke for what it was.
How does one connect to your land when far from home after all. No Bram Stoker in this one, no tale of vampire, more a need to be buried in your own land, feel its touch beneath hand or foot, even if you could never make it back. Such is the prized possession of Land to the Irish heart. Such as I am, and I'm humbled to be so, for Her.
A few more slow breaths to settle the moment, blue of the sky above me, warmth of the sun upon my face, cool of the grass beneath my form, the scent of green life filling my nose.
"Will you come with me?"
There it was. The Ask.
His big chest rose and fell, steady and paced, relaxed yet somehow still powerfully implacable.
"I have been to this place before and its full of amazing, passionate people. They gather around this time of year to share knowledge, stories, food and drink. There is hospitality in abundance and community in all its range of colour and flavour."
The moment stretched out, and I found myself counting the breaths.
"I'm pretty sure you will like it there. There are some folk you would definitely get on very well with."
The vast expanse of the blue sky filled my vision, my mind slipping into it, beginning to lose itself in its wide open emptiness. The knowing part of the brain started to volunteer more interesting yet irrelevant factoids, stuff about sub zero temperatures, explosive decompression, terminal velocity. I lost my focus and the synchronicity of the moment went with it.
"Ease yourself lad."
The words were but a soft whisper, but the will behind that rumble stilled my mind.
"I have been asked to invite you. Not just for me but for them. They know you and call to you. Now I have been asked to help in their space, to call you and frankly I'm perplexed as much as I'm honored. I don't know what to say or if you would even hear me over there."
The anxiety in my voice was grating to my own ears, yet it brought a compassionate chuckle from my companion. His words rolled out softly, chiding me gently for my apprehension.
"Do you think I haven't been there before? Do you think I have not heard my name called in all the years they have honoured it? Do you think I wouldn't respond where honest community gathers and hospitality offered?"
Slow and steady breath lead to another rumbled chuckle from his broad chest.
"I have always been where I am invited to be, and grateful I am to each of them who hold a place open for me."
"What do I say when they ask me to invite you in to the space they keep for you? How do I give honour to them who ask this of me and respect to you for the asking?"
His sigh was one of a patient teacher, taking a moment to explain what should already have been obvious.
"Answer me this, how comfortable was it to sit in the space they set aside for me last year? How did you know the drumming of the cauldron? How did you know the words to ease the lost who did visit? How did you have an answer for John when he asked of you the ways of a Dagda devotional?"
My memories of these activities arose and I was warmed by the fondness of them.
"You were there already anyway."
The realization came like weight dropping from my shoulders. I recalled again each moment and looked for that which had been there but I had overlooked. The voice that had spoken but had, at that time, been unheard. The big broad hand that had rested casually upon my shoulder.
Tears started to roll from my eyes and I did not wipe them away. I let them fall down my face and water the earth beneath me. The words didn't matter. What words could? The intent of one's heart was more significant than the noises used to shape it.
I understood, yet still a small part of me held its anxiousness.
"What if I'm just crazy and this is all in my head? Who am I to speak of or for deity?"
His words came and I could hear the broad smile of them without looking over. I knew the shape and lines of his face, the curl of his hair and beard, the creased curves around his deep compassionate eyes.
"If your crazy drives you to be a better person, more caring and compassionate, more giving of hospitality and support for community, more intent on bringing smiles and joy where you can, then I say more people should be as crazy as you."
The blue sky was scored by the trail of a plane as it slid its way westward, metal wings causing condensation clouds to stream out in its wake.
"Oh, and make sure your passport is still in date."
His chuckle followed me as I leapt up cursing myself and rushed off down the hill.
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An Scéalaí Beag