Today marks two weeks that I have been in lovely Listowel. My journey here is half over or is it half full, like the proverbial glass of water. As I reflect back on this too short time the image above from Glateenassig Forest in the Slieve Mish mountains may say it all. Simply golden, shimmering with love and life, peace and joy. Regardless of the weather - it must have changed at least as many times as the 12 hours Damian Stack and I were out touring the Dingle Peninsular this day, the constant is the gentle beauty in the land and it's people. Yes, even the rugged cliffs and worn ruins seem this way from my perspective.
Beyond the green landscapes, what strikes me most is the kindness and generosity of the people in Listowel and vicinity. It's sort of like the theme song from the "Cheers" television show, "Where Everybody Knows Your Name". Starting with my second day arriving here one lovely person after another has dropped by the Olive Stack Gallery to greet me. I walk into Allo's to get a cup of cappuccino and Sarah, our server on my first night here, greets me by name and asks how my home back in Florida weathered the hurricane threat. Other merchants come by with spelt bread and jam because they heard I like it. Another friend comes with a sweet fruit pie reflecting the pure sweetness emanating from her crystal blue Irish eyes and warm heart. The window washer takes time from his day to share one of his favorites walks outside of town. Mary of Chic Boutique, located diagonally across from Olive's gallery offers to take me to Ballybunion to capture the sunset. Even today, two weeks since I've arrived, I was welcomed with a delicious looking cream and strawberry tart. And, the list goes on. Yesterday I saw one of Olive's customers on the sidewalk who was sharing with a friend about my photography. He actually knew the image I took of the "River Feale" and said he's seen many versions and he liked my perspective best so far. I caught a draft in my eye early on and John the chemist, as they call pharmacists here, took time to recommend the perfect remedy. Then there was Pat who just dropped-in the gallery because she was drawn to the beauty of Olive's works in the window. When she heard of my upcoming photography workshop she asked if I had posted flyers at a particular church. Then she said she would. And, friends of new friends who I've meant come by to share more time getting to know me. People seem interested. Like all folks they have their priorities and yet they take those moment to be interests and personal. Yes, Listowel's a small town of only 4,500 compared to my much bigger city background from Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. And, perhaps what I am experiencing mostly has to do with Olive, who founded this amazing opportunity for artist. I am grateful for it all.
Whether it's a soft day, like today, or a blue-sky day, that seems to show up for a few moments during the days since I've been here, it's always golden time here. You just have to see the forest through the trees.
There is no sunset here tonight so it's time to be with some new friends, the 6 - 9 Club, that meets at John B. Keane's. Although, tonight it may be a Baileys with coffee rather than Guinness. some like it sweet.
Enjoy below some more photos from Listowel.