Clock vines cover the wooden arch my sweetheart built in our garden, and this March, on a sunny Saint Patrick’s Day following storms that flooded rivers and knocked down trees, a few orange blossoms peep bravely from the lush greenery. Back when this jungle was just two small starts from one-gallon pots, back in the early days of the pandemic, a friend sent me a green stone plaque with a golden Brigit’s cross to lift my spirits. We hung it on the arch, and at first, the plaque stood out in the wooden latticework, but within a year vines caressed the edges and leaves curled provocatively around its corners. Then leaf and vine went wild, and now the flamboyant growth almost hides the human-made artifact, but even if unseen, Brigit’s cross hangs there still.
Hallow this arch, ye Irish saints. Make it today a portal, more than a gateway from path to garden. Let it harbor the stone boat that will take me to my great-great-grandmother’s hearth, she who knew what it took to keep the fire stoked during a long winter and how to bake bread in a stone oven, who could milk a cow and churn butter. She knew too the secrets of bog and well, flower and fern. Like her I want to practice lectio divina on what the cedar preaches to the sparrows and transcribe poems the sweet pea bush proclaims to the rock rose.
Come, let us walk through this Brigit-blest arch to the wedding of heaven and earth.
Written after listening to a passage from Dreamtime by John Moriarty