We all have places on this beautiful planet that stir us in powerful, primal ways. We feel a visceral connection with them that may be esthetic, or it may be something more, something deep inside our very core. I have a few of these special places in my life.
The picture above is one of those ur-places for me. It was taken from the top of a tiny road that leads back over the mountain pass to my "home village" in Ireland. Out there, across Dingle Bay, lies the highest mountain in Ireland, and to my left, out of the frame, is the second highest— the mountain to whose peak St. Brendan is said to have gone to meditate before he set out for the Western Lands in his tiny boat, waiting for him in a little harbor at the foot of the mountain.
For twenty years this has been the central venue for my Irish cultural trips, and it's a sight I have seen many times. Often it is a scene that contains a little sadness, for I frequently see it as I make my way east, at dawn, on the way to catch a plane that will return me to America. For the time being, anyway.