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Clochán na bhFomhórach

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posted by Michael Kight alias snapdragginphoto on Thursday 7th of March 2019 07:26:57 PM

June 21 0f 2014 was an important day for me… I got to wear my new suit and tie. Oh, and I got married, too. That day was quite wonderful and funny in many ways. After we got back home and could rest for a minute, Joyce held me at arm’s length, looked deep into me with those big hazel eyes and said, “Hello, Mr. Kight.” I responded with the answer she had been longing to hear, “Hello, Mrs. Kight.” Then a thought found its way past my lips, “Wait a second… that was my mom’s name!” We both had a good laugh out of that… and I believe that was the exact start of the adventure of our life together. The adventure continued the next day, as we would be winging our way to the United Kingdom for our honeymoon, though not without a bit of chaos to make it a true adventure… despite Joyce’s careful planning, the connecting flight to New York had no record of us. The problem was on their end, not ours, but we had to go through hoops to eventually make our flight across the pond. When my wife makes her mind up about something, she becomes doggedly determined… I wouldn’t stand between her and any goal she’s set... she got us on our way. Me, well I was like the old Shake and Bake commercials, "... and I helped!" My wife is awesome! While on this trip, I got to meet face-to-face with many friends I had first made online through Flickr. I remember as we were preparing for landing at Heathrow just after sunrise that I was going to meet folks who seemed quite amiable online, but then I thought, “What if they’re jerks?” My next thought considered me coming from a considerably different culture, “What if I’m a jerk?” One of my first friends from Flickr picked us up at the airport. Peter has since become a dear friend of whom Joyce and I are both grateful for. What stands out with my photography friends, other than the fact they are folks I love and care for, is that no one knows their country much as they do… they know the best places to point a camera to. This is one of those places, thanks to our Irish friend Mari… I’ll let my previous description define what you’re seeing here: Verdant cliffs cascading down to the sea, crashing waves of turquoise water, brilliant blue skies with a hint of rain clouds, and a black sand beach... this must be Punaluu Beach in Hawaii. Wait a second... that’s not sand... and this isn’t Hawaii. This is Clochán na bhFomhórach, also known as the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland. This was a strange beach, indeed. It reminded me of the irresistible force paradox, a classic paradox formulated as "What happens when an unstoppable force (the sea) meets an immovable object (the rocks)?" We would soon find out. It was our second stop along the Irish coast with our friend Mari. Though crowded with a throng of humanity, we still managed some shots sans people. This would be an excellent place for sunrise and sunset photography, especially among the wet rocks... though, as we found out by proxy, the wet rocks can be perilous. Thank you so much to the young and foolish for pointing this out to us (read the text from here to understand: Gravity’s weird here... and so are these rock columns of dense basalt that have a very crystalline appearance. We watched as young men and women seemed to be out to prove something by venturing out toward where the waves crashed the rocks. Needless to say the waves weren’t the only things to crash... that hard basalt just reached out and smacked a few of them... and they didn’t bounce. I told you gravity’s weird here. It’s actually nice to know that regardless of the culture around this world, some things are just the same... it’s evident that so often youth is wasted on the young. Will they ever learn? Did I? It’s estimated that approximately 60 million years, 11 months ago, on a Tuesday at precisely 1:56 AM, volcanic basalt pushed through the strata that is now the chalk cliffs and cooled in such a way to end up like these (mostly) hexagonal pillars. Similar structures also exist across the ocean in Scotland in a place called Fingal’s Cave... now, this is where the story gets interesting. According to legend, the columns are the remains of a causeway built by a giant... sounds good to me. The Irish giant, Fionn mac Cumhaill (Finn MacCool), of Gaelic mythology, was challenged to a fight by the Scottish giant Benandonner. Their conversation could have been “Oh, so lovely to meet you! Would you care for a cup of tea?” But, no, it was more like “Oh yeah?” “Yeah!”... and it was on like Donkey Kong. The earlier myth has Fionn build the causeway and promptly put a whoopin’ on Benandonner... The End. But, just as in Hollywood, that doesn’t make for a good story... so it evolved into this: Fionn hides when he realizes that Benandonner is much bigger than he thought. Fionn's wife, Oonagh, fearful of becoming a widow, disguises Fionn as a baby and tucks him in a huge cradle. When Benandonner sees the size of the “baby”, he supposes that its father, Fionn, must truly be HUMONGOUS! He hightails it back to Scotland in terror, destroying the causeway behind him so that Fionn could not follow. How funny is that? And no one was hurt in the spinning of this yarn, so it's doubly good. It’s apparent with such a creative way that the Irish explain Clochán na bhFomhórach (which means "stepping stones of the Fomhóraigh", a race of supernatural beings in Irish mythology), nothing in this land escapes the scrutiny of the artist’s eye. I hope you get to see it one day. By the way, another Irish friend, Rodney, noted something about this place that may or may not be quite accurate: "They say if you stand on one of those stones and say 'Beam me up, Scotty', you`ll disappear." I'll have to go back and try that. Aloha!

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  • Published 07.06.22
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