Treading ages through the Burren

I thread these roads through the Burren, from the distance great hill swell. Low and contrasting iridescent green geometrics of pasture lands, symphonies of green, infinitely unfathomable monochromatic palettes. Elegant in complexity and simplicity wind walls of stone, woven in patterns - regional signatures, harmonise across the overture of the Clare coast.

Across the grand swelling hills, the iconic rock seems stretched taut like a skull cap - exposed bright bare bone but, with closer focus, shadowy lees of mute hues - indeterminate colours - cooled with greens, warmed with ochres that drift olive then back to green again upon closer inspection...

I perch atop the Aliwee caves. A farmer in the 40's who's discovery of the caves came with the pursuit of his rabbit-hounding canine which vanished into it's entrance; kept secret till the early 70's it was opened and explored to reveal the chambers excavated by aeons-old subterranean river flow and 1200+ year old European bear remains in hibernating holes. I sit atop this height well above the caves in silence, post tour and try to take it all in.

Before me is a vista enough for the mind to digest over a lifetime. To my right lolls Galway Bay, lazy silver silken sheen vibrating mute aquas, violets, platinum yellows and brushed metal blues, She's fingered by low-tide rocks slicked with seaweed and lit by a few flashes of luminous sandy crescents. A village speckles the water's edge and disperses, slowly fragmented by fields which peel away up the valley.

So much bare rock appears with the illusion of distance, yet I sit surrounded by a vast microcosm of dense jungle which seems to wash in torrents about the bones of limestone plates, and within the fissured geometrics skinned with lichens, most mossy punctuations. The hill-top is dancing with wildflowers. Violets and purples; vivid electrics. Yellow tight clusters and petite pink petals veined with violet. The rock offers illusions of solidity but reality underfoot is a soft and spongy mattress lightly skinning the fissures falling between the limestone bones.
Bristling with bracken - emerald and earthy skeletal fish, slick waxen succulents, sad bells of blue trembling on slender stems, bright smiling dandelion suns, curled ivory petals winking with mustard eyes gnarled with wind-burn, a broken stalk with slender red tongues as leaves, tight little fists of white-pink petals, layered deep twisting fractal sets, dying stars of papery thistle blooms, wide and tight limestone mouths shift unexpectedly underfoot, baying for below-knee sacrifice.

Far beyond in the fields below echoes bovine bellows which vibrate up on crisp gusts. Surrounded with these bright armies of orchids, proud and morose tempt tears to swell in homage.

This is the Burren.
Stretching barren and majestic, lifeless and ageless but upon inspection revealing an intimate distillery of the dramatic in miniature; bubbling juxtaposition of microcosm and macrocosm.

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