Up for Air

It’s been a mad run the past few weeks, but I’ve just handed in the grades, my book is being published and we’re going to get a new car in the near future.

Sgeul neònach sin …

Last Wednesday it was my wife’s – I’ll call her Caisearbháin – birthday and we often laugh about how many horrible things happen in that month. The Titanic sank. The Battle of Culloden was fought (actually on her birthday), etc. etc. So we decide to take the kids out for a special birthday meal as a family and wound up getting rammed from behind by an older woman talking on her cel phone. The car is totalled and, having checked all the right boxes on our insurance form, we will be getting more than the value of the car for a replacement. We’re quite excited as we’ve been wanting to get a vehicle that can fit us all (the dog has not joined us on excursions for a while) and that is more ecologically sound. Now we have the means.

Of course, I mentioned the possibility of switching to a horse-drawn vehicle, but mo Chaisearbháin thought I was joking. Ah well. One day…

It will take some readjustment now after the stress of all that’s happened in the past week (little Saoirse is back in hospital tomorrow – not associated with the accident) in order to get back into a proper mindset. Caisearbháin and I decided to go on a fast, but with crashes and deadlines we wound up putting it off. Hm … crashes and deadlines …

There was a period centring on the full moon when everything seemed to be clicking. The snowfall was perfect for us (first sleddings and snow-boardings go leor) and lasted as long as the full moon did. We had a series of feasts with family and friends in celebration of Caisearbháin’s birthday and our spirits were really up in spite of the crash. Then Tuesday hit and the world exploded. Suddenly my deadlines were moved up, the kids started acting crazy, Caisearbháin suddenly started showing symptoms of muscle damage from the crash right in the middle of two – count ’em – two catering gigs, and her mother, who normally helps us with the kids, was stuck in flight back from helping one of our other relatives who was suddenly taken to hospital. Not a good day …

One of the great things that happened over the full moon was that I finally received some inter-library loan materials I had requested. These were old back issues of Ériu, mostly dealing with bardic grammatical tracts for a couple articles I have been working on, but there were others that were interesting in a more … personal way. One of these was Eóin MacNeill’s article on the Coligny Calendar – a passion of mine for some time (I love time calculation – maybe you’ve noticed).

Working from his reconstruction – and I am hardly finished – I noticed that a recurrent pattern was three ‘good’ days centred around what he interpreted as the full moon (usually accompanied by feasting) followed by a day (or days) seemingly marked as ‘not-good’ or unlucky. Assuming that MacNeill’s interpretation is correct (and I have little cause to doubt him yet), these ‘good’ and ‘not-good’ days probably had some ritual purpose, but isn’t it interesting that the last week has followed the same pattern for us?

Another article of great interest is entitled ‘Prognostications from the Raven and the Wren’. I’ve been aware of this article for several years, but it now has especial interest. Of course, it requires semi-domesticated ravens and wrens that live in your house, but who wouldn’t be up for that?


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