Cover image and poem reproduced with kind permission from Angelica Dooley, Brigit’s Garden
Anyone familiar with my this blog will know that I am a great fan of Brigit’s Garden, the Irish wildflower sanctuary founded by Jenny Beale and designed by Mary Reynolds. Consisting of four interlocking gardens inspired by four celtic seasons – samhain (winter), imbolc (spring), bealtaine (summer) and lughnasa (autumn), the gardens incorporate a myriad of native Irish plants, a woodland area, lake, wild flower meadows as well as specially commissioned sculpture by Irish artists. It is a beautiful place to visit at any time of year but I think it is exquisite in early summer ( when the wild flowers are in full bloom ) and also in winter.
There is something about the winter garden that is compelling and moving. The image of the sleeping woman formed out of the earth and the bronze figure ( made by Linda Brunker ) at rest on the island have I believe helped me to appreciate the beauty of this season. I should explain that I have not always appreciated winter, especially since moving to Connemara almost twenty four years ago. Growing up in Kildare and the suburbs of Dublin, I had a fairly indifferent attitude towards the winter months but this is simply not possible in Connemara, where the climate has a kind of physical, elemental force. I struggled with it for many years, particularly as a young mother battling with the practicalities of moving small children around in bad weather.
The winter garden under snowfall reproduced with kind permission from Brigit’s Garden
What is it about this sleeping woman – rendered out of the earth and so delicately portrayed in bronze – that is so captivating? When you walk out onto the island, she seems so peaceful by the curve of the water, under the simple lines of the trees that for an instant you worry, in case she might be disturbed.
Close up of sleeping woman from Stream
Perhaps it is simply that she reminds us that there is a time for rest, in nature and in life and that this is natural and necessary. There is comfort in this tranquil interpretation of winter because it offers us calm and reassurance.
Thank you to Angelica Dooley who had given me permission to reproduce her beautiful haiku.
You can visit the garden website at www.brigitsgarden.ie
Lay down your sweet head
and rest while winter rages.
Charge your weary soul.