Nature, photography

What’s the best Birthday present you ever got?

photo by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of apple blossom

Yes, well some years ago, I got a present of a tree for my birthday – an apple tree – and every year, around this time, those delicate pink and white flowers open up to greet the sunshiny days of Spring.

“Efflorescence”, that’s the word to describe our little tree ‘in the state of flowering’ and that’s what’s happening right now in our suburban garden.

Later on, of course, the wind and the rain will come howling down from the Kimmage Crossroads and tear at the branches and send the petals flurrying and swirling into the air until only the pluckiest and the stubbornist of the buds will remain to develop and grow into lovely green and rosy apples.

In Celtic tradition, the apple tree was a symbol of purity, wholeness and fertility. They say that applewood was burned by the druids in various fertility rites. The apples were highly valued because they would keep over the long winter months.

But for me, the apple tree is a reminder of the rhythms of nature and of the cycle of life. Rotha Mór an tSaoil. Isn’t it amazing, when you see the tree in winter, to think that in a few short months, it will be completely transformed from bare branches to an abundant mass of flowers – and then again – to sagging branches, laden with luxurious fruit!

I have a series of apple paintings which I return to from time to time. (Here’s one of them below). But they have to be real apples, the sweet juicy ones. Did you ever get a nicer gift?

small oil painting of Halloween Apple by Eoin Mac Lochlainn
Halloween-Apple-no.2, 20 x 20cm, oil on canvas

Nature, photography

What do you do in the evening?

photo by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of fire

“Ah, sometimes I sits and thinks”, she said, “and sometimes I just sits”. I was thinking about that old woman recently, when I finally got time to sit down.

And she reminded me of a film that I’d seen about the artist Natalia Black ARUA. Whilst expounding on the visual impact of a painting, she said: “My idea is to look at (paintings) and stare into them like one looks into the fire and thinks wordless thoughts…” (see her website here )

photo by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of Kippure mast

Funnily enough, I wasn’t sitting by the fireside at the time; I was sitting on top of the misty summit of Kippure in the Wicklow mountains. But isn’t there something about slow-moving clouds, like flickering flames or the never-ending sea, that just brings forth those ‘wordless thoughts’?

If only we could’ve stayed there for a while longer. But it was cold, and whenever it’s wet underfoot…

grasses on Kippure mountain photo by Eoin Mac Lochlainn

Happy New Year, a chairde, let’s hope it’s a good one.