A beautiful card arrived in the post the same day I wrote about My Neighbour Totoro and empowerment through nature and risk. It commemorated a joyful day last summer when two of my loveliest friends made the reckless commitment to be actively loving to each other for the rest of their lives. One of my happiest memories of that weekend is of slithering down the slick grassy side of a Norman motte in stunning St. Mullins, Co. Carlow. I was wearing my good coat, for weddings and job interviews. I would have worried about tearing it or muddying it, but by the time I lost my footing I had no choice in the matter!
The tussocks I grasped on the way down gave way, one by one, between my fingers, and each time it seemed funnier than the last. As I hurtled towards the base of the hill, I began to rotate until it was my head which would be the first to meet any rocks along the way, but still I laughed. I was free of all responsibility. There was nothing I could do to change my circumstances, except to laugh!
At the bottom, I lay in a heap, eye to eye with a shiny soldier fly, with straw up my jumper and grass stains on my good coat. I bloomed where I was planted, laughing too hard to tell my friends that I was alright, more than alright!
I felt that giddy freedom from caution and worry which is so hard to come by these days. It’s there when you’re bouncing in the back of a camion in rural Madagascar, with barely a seat, let alone a seatbelt. Sprinting along a strand with a new friend, determined to make it off the beach before dark, armed with nothing but a swiss army knife and a flimsy piece of driftwood. Following the dog’s homeward bound after a storm brings down a tree in the park!
It’s in the safety net of nothingness at the high point of a swing. At the mercy of centrifugal force during a vigorous luascadh. In the palm of a constant hand, remembered through prayer, suddenly and with great relief. In the midst of hysterical howls and tears, at the hands of a skilful tickler.
It is rare and difficult to plan, but it feels nourishing and necessary. So be reckless and roll down that hill.