For a week now, I've tried to conjure up a poignant subject in honor of St. Patrick's Day. What I have however is just an amalgam of whimsy. And I think that is perfect in itself!
I have Celtic and Saxon ancestors - primarily English, Scottish and Irish. Who knows - perhaps there is a little Welsh in there, too. I have always been fascinated with this aspect of my heritage, regardless of how little I actually knew. My father used to listen to NPR's Thistle and Shamrock on Sunday afternoons, and that was the start to my undying passion for Celtic music - reels and melancholy songs in the "old language." I remember watching the embarrassingly campy NBC movie Leprechauns (not to be confused with the horror film) in 1999 (starring Whoopie Goldberg, Zoe Wanamaker and Randy Quaid of all people), but somehow making it a tradition to watch our video-taped version of it every year. In high school, I began a story in which an American teenager goes to Ireland to meet his mother's side of the family. The novel I completed for my undergraduate thesis involved characters born out of my conception of Irish rural culture - their fierce devotion to each other, the song-like wonder of their names. Even now, I feel the urge to "go back" to Ireland, dig deeper in my studies to somehow be a part of such a mysterious and yet beautiful place.
A few items that build up the fires of imagination (at least for me):
1. The Celts in Ireland were the first in the Isles to be Christianized (by St. Patrick). It was the faithfulness of Irish monks that eventually brought Christianity to England.
2. Ireland was never conquered by the Romans or by the Saxons; hence a culture that evolved separately and distinctly.
3. There is nothing like a Celtic band playing a rousing, joyous reel to turn the tide of a bad day!
4. I love making Irish Soda bread and kneading the dough with my hands. Is it strange to think lumps of baked dough completely beautiful?
5. One day I hope to learn Irish and Scottish Gaelic. Until then, I am content to be swept away in the beauty of the language(s) anyway! ("tighin air m'huir am fear phosas mi..." - Capercaillie)
6. One day I hope to visit Ireland.
7. The hauntingly beautiful Book of Kells:
8. If you've never seen The Quiet Man (starring John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara) please do! An American finding his identity in his Irish roots. Lovely and human!
9. The film Once. Bittersweetness!10. Celtic knots and crosses. I have them everywhere!
The list goes on! By all means it shouldn't stop here!