Donegal skies and air. The smell of bog. The colour of sea over white sand lit by strong sunlight. Cold and fresh.
My father reminded me of the days when Lego pieces found by us while beach combing at Minerstown were valued prizes. They were not as tight-fitting and shiny as their Leisure World cousins but all the more special for being discovered by one’s self on the shore.
Driving to Donegal I was struck by a quote chosen and read by Anne Enright from her book ‘The Gathering’.
“…but the flesh has long fallen away and I’m not sure what hurt may linger in the bones. My brother Liam loved birds and, like all boys, he loved the bones of dead animals. I’ve no sons myself so when I pass any small skull or skeleton, I hesitate and think of him, how he admired their intricacies. A magpie’s ancient arms coming through the mess of feathers, stubby and light and clean. That’s the word we use about bones: clean.”
On Loughros Point outside Ardara I found this half of a rabbit’s skull – clean, delicate, intricate and perfectly formed. The teeth kept falling out so I stored it inside my freshly lined mohair mittens, hand-made by my mother. Back at the house I tried to fit the teeth back into place. I lost a few along the way.