06/30/08, 2:10pm – written while walking on the road.
Jesus, not easy to find this place. Next time be sure to ask the bus driver to let you know where your stop is. He blew right by it, 15 minutes ahead of schedule.
Marlene’s directions leave something to be desired. You took them exactly as they were written and wound up on a poultry farm. Oh well, you are close.
this is a fucking steep hill.
—how much walking have you done today?! Over 3 hours worth, most of which involved carrying your backpack. Forgot your damn sleeping back at Eoin’s–realized this 10 minutes before you were supposed to get on the bus to Newtownmountkennedy. Took TWO HOURS for you to retrieve it! Had to hoof it over to Eoin’s work, get the key, go to the apartment, return the key, get all the way back to the train station. Then there was the matter of finding the bus stop, which was not in the bus station. The Irish have a weird way about giving directions… I was sent in circles.
(Then again, it could be my horrendous sense of direction.)
Hmm… there appear to be blackberries all over this county. Blackberries and nettles… just like the Pacific Northwest. Oh yeah, and rain.
Anyway, what did that farmer lady say? Go up to the thatch house, to a graveyard… Oh wow, I’ve got to get a picture of this. There’s an old foundation of a church here. No roof. Just stone walls. Graves out front look spooky and ancient.
2:40pm… Jeez, the original directions are just awful. But hey, there’s a windmill up there.
4:30pm, Well Maria, you have a phenomenal talent for bouncing around from one extreme to the next. You’ve landed yourself quite the farm.
Backing up a little… when your driver blew past your stop, you realized this fairly after the fact. He dumped you on the side of the highway and said to start walking back. Newtownmountkennedy is a blip of a town. So, just like that, you’re walking along the highway with your thumb out. Not three minutes into it, another bus decides to pick you up, seeing that you were an obviously lost backpacker. Free ride back to the town you wanted (sweet, since total expenses today amounted to 3.80 euro). Then there was the endless hike of wrong turns until you found this place.
Anyway, up to the door you went. There is a large statue of Buddha outside the house. You knock, Marlene answers the door and has you sit down immediately for lunch. Now, at the head of the table is someone you did not anticipate. There’s this old yogi, Muz Murray (check him out! http://www.mantra-yoga.com/biography.htm), decked out in orange–a British fellow that is the spitting image of your dad (so that sort of clears of the genealogical mud in your family. Your paternal grandfather, Frank Goodman, really was British). Looks like Larry, barring the beard and the long hair pinned back. Not really sure how to explain him–some kind of Brahman whatchamacallit of Mantra Yoga, and he was there because Marlene holds these retreat-type thing with influences from Yoga, homeopathy, psychoanalysis, what have you. He was here to run a weekend workshop in mantra yoga.
Muz was utterly fascinating. Hard to believe you were sitting next to him, hearing his stories of his travels as he was studying modalities in Africa and India–well, everywhere. He is described as the Indiana Jones of Yoga. He went on to tell you a story about a period of time in his life that spanned a week–where he holds on the the side of a train in India for 10 hours, traveling through the night with sparks and steam from the engine in is face, battling malaria, and eventually collapsing on the platform at his destination–he falls unconscious from the fevers and people casually walk past him, because dying people in the streets are just plain common. Eventually, after being robbed multiple times, half starving, that particular week in the life of Muz concludes with his Guru nearly killing him with an acupuncture needle to his temple. His heart apparently stops. Muz has this out-of-body experience. He is ‘up in [outer] space, over a stone arch, following some chap playing a flute.’ His life passes before his eyes. Supposedly he wakes up in a hospital, moments before they’re going to use the defibrillator on him.
He looks to be in his late 60s. Small, frail, lean, but with great skin. He was eating a few leaves of lettuce, radishes, and a couple slices of bread with cheese and avocado on them. Eat to live, don’t live to eat, my dad always told me. Based on Muz’s stories of vagabondage, it doesn’t seem that he had eaten much throughout most of his life. Naturally, as the nutrition-focused trainer that you are, you thought about the merits of a low calorie vegetarian diet, and how it was reflected in this man. But, even so, you were RAVENOUS from all that hiking today, and it was all you could do not to Tasmanian devil your way across the table and eat what few scraps he left.
Marlene showed you to your room in the attic and left you to your own devices. You happened to have some oat flakes and a can of tomato paste, so you blended them together for a grotesque meal of reddish gruel. But damn, don’t you feel better now.
8:05pm – Passed out. Was called down to dinner. Delicious curry, buttered potatoes, apple and cabbage salad, topped off with tea and cookies. You will love it here.
Went for a walk around the premises. 3 dogs here, sheep, a pig, pony, donkey. Garden and a greenhouse. Windmill, solar panels.
Douglas showed you the reed bed, which is where all their sewage drains. The reeds filter the water, which drains down the hill through some more reeds, eventually gathering in a pool. As the pool fills, the water drains through the ground, father down the hill, such that the trees below are nourished with what is, by then, filtered pure water.
Muz asked you just now what direction your bed here is pointed. He says one should sleep with their head to the north and their feet to the south. ‘The geomagnetic forces will promote better sleep.’ Words of wisdom. You think You’ll give it a try.