"Only in the agony of parting do we look into the depths of love."
- George Eliot
I felt sad to leave Connemara this morning. Connemara felt like mine. It felt like it was my cabin, the land I lived on, my mountains, my people, my little neighborhood store ten miles down the road, the sheep and horses part of my family. Saying goodbye to the vastness, the fields, streams, and all the sheep who have accepted us into their fold made my heart ache a little. The horses, which run freely here, were not out quite yet since we were leaving in the morning, before their daily walk through the fields and along the lanes. I wanted to talk to them one more time and stroke their hair and experience their openness of walking right up to us to say hello.
We stayed at the cabin for three weeks. I prefer to settle into a place and live there. For me, it is the difference between seeing and experiencing. If we had only stayed at the cabin for a couple of nights and then headed off to the next location, we would not have experienced the depth of connection we felt with the sheep and the horses, the family man who shepherds the sheep, the curves of the roads we so often traveled, the way the light moved across the land, the powerful wind that sometimes came through our valley, and the majesty of the mountains outside our door.
I learned in talking with the farmer who owned all the land and livestock that the timing of our visit was very fortunate. He said that the sheep are typically up in the mountains behind us and they would be heading up there again very soon. That would have been a very different experience while staying here. Not necessarily bad, but certainly different. I am so grateful it all worked out so perfectly.
I will allow the words of Winnie the Pooh and Dr. Seuss to reframe the sadness of leaving....
"How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard."
- Winne the Pooh
"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened."
- Dr. Seuss