"I Am Eire" by Clarise Reichley

May (Beltane)

I am Eire. The rolling green expanses of fairie hills and hawthorn trees growing out of the Burren walls, sculpted by the wind. I am Eire. A hidden landmark yet to be found by a blind society, a castle that stands watching the tide come in and out twice daily. For I am the green, grey sea, the patchwork of green fields, and the washed out blue sky that stands watching it all. 

I am Eire. Home to the seagulls and the hollow echo of their cawing as they burst into flight, annoyed, truly, with the humans and their peculiar characteristics. Too much exposure has drained beauty from my most magnificent rarities: totems of the past, littered in secret corners across my countryside enticing many who dare to adventure. 

I am Eire. My beauty has begun to fade like an ember going out; I have been too generous and my mystique has begun to be taken for granted. 

Many eons have come and gone since the name of Eire (Ireland) has come to be the title that I am known. Years and years ago they came. The Celts. They wanted the land for themselves, but were confronted by Eriu, the goddess that represented my charm in just the wisps of her hair. She welcomed them, as their boats first traveled the Shannon, and Eriu promised them her land if only they would name it in her honor. So here I am today; Ireland for you, Eire for them, and Eriu for all the others who remember. But now my sacred language is becoming sparse and I am known by Ireland, because those that remember are rare and spread out. The trend has caught on and my character has been changed because now I am only Ireland.  

June (Summer Solstice)

Change is coming. Too many of my precious sister hawthorn and brother rowan trees have been cut down by these men creating motorways. It hurts to watch the destruction and modernism slowly consume the people who live in Ireland and the fairies that live in the wildness of my land feel the same pain and disrespect. The midnight parties full of festivity are still wild as can be, but now the fairies are filled with caution for the ever-saddening moment when the humans uproot a sacred tree from its home.  I feel sad as I helplessly watch my country change bit by bit. Though compared to other places in Europe I am still the wisest and most respected of them all. 

They come in fleets. Big plump caterpillars that seize the wild, hedge-ridden roads, taking tourists to yet another sight of sacred dominance. These roads hold intimidating adventure into the wild, but they are now only a highway transporting sightseers, instead. The sheer “importance” of these buses in unknown to me, but the government thinks otherwise. They are here to stay, for they bring money to my country. 

Sitting and then lethargically walking from crowded seats, cameras hanging limply around their necks, even the most common thing is taken a picture of and then framed on the wall. I am seen only through the filter of a camera lens. 

Each person is a slight replication of the other wearing an outfit that would suggest they were just going to the store for a pack of cookies or gallon of milk. Though they have "adventured" here they do not live and take risks or go out of their comfort zone. They have always played by the rules. 

These humans have blinded my eyes with the bright flashes of cameras and my ears ring, but not with the silence anymore, instead the ever-constant sound of pictures being taken. Massive tour buses full of people are taking from me, consuming more and more, not giving back.  They have taken too much with them! The mystery is beginning to fade and my resplendence is going with it. 

August (Lughnasa)

I know my country is on the verge of something big, something horrible. My people are already poor and the economy is going downhill on a roller coaster, speeding two hundred kilometers per hour. So, if these buses help my country through hard times and struggle I will tolerate them as they trample my sacred places. 

The importance of the tour buses to the government has swayed my opinion and I now have a slight understanding towards the work they achieve. Their buses are here to stay and I can put up with that as long as I know that it is helping my country. For when my country and its people are taken care of, my worries drift away. And though they will come back time and time again I will know that my people are being helped and that will make hope glint in my mind, helping me endure all the hardships. 

September (Fall Equinox) 

Another season has ended and in no time at all another will begin. My boiling frustration will be cooled as less and less tour buses trample my sacred places and the time of harvest makes the countryside alive with the hues of change. They will come again, and in bigger and stronger fleets, but as they come I understand them more and feel less frustrated though there is still a flame of indignation that will burn in my body. Modern things are coming, but I will not let it change the culture of my people. 

I will begin my slumber as winter falls upon my land; for the darkness is a time for me to rest, as everyone does when the bitter cold of sleet on the ocean keeps them sitting by a fire telling tales of the days when I was still very young. Now as the light grows shorter and shorter and the nights’ obscuring darkness longer and longer the splash of waves on the shore will forever lull me to sleep.

© Clarise Reichley, Denver Shool of the Arts

 

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