Since we moved here, it will be 9 years in September, we have often wondered if the remains of a building in our back field were once a dwelling. Well, yesterday our questions were answered. We were both outside working at about 4.30 when our neighbour Joe drove up our drive. He had visitors with him, his sister Mary and her husband visiting from Boston. Mary left Arigna 60 years ago at 18 years of age. She still has the old Arigna in her mind’s eye. A family called Glasheens once lived in the ruin which she remembered as “a fine house.” It was so nice to hear her talk of time’s past, when “no-one would be short of milk, if your cow was’nt calved yet your neighbours would be. Everyone helping each other with cow’s calving, saving the hay and sowing the potatoes and grain crops. On Christmas Eve I remember us children counting the candles in the windows of the valley. We could count about 70.” At that time there was no electricity and everyone put a big red candle in the window on Christmas Eve. Last night I went outside to see how many lights I could count, sad to say there was only 7 lights to be seen. Rural depopulation, the reality. I find it sad that people are leaving the countryside, leaving behind their connection with the land. Gone for many people is the connection between themselves, the land and the food that sustains them. The interconnectedness of living on the land in a functioning community. Despite being in America for 60 years Mary still felt the connections, strongly, remembering, enjoying the telling. She still has a love for it all, distance no object.
The stone steps above were made from floor slabs from the old house, if only they could tell a tale.The stones in this wall are also from the old house. They now have a new use, a new energy. I love stone, I think it adds character and warmth to a place. Even some of the new monstrous houses look a little less hostile in the environment if the are stone-faced. It has a mellowing effect, a fitting into the landscape and the earth from whence they came.