Sunday dawned bright, sunny even, and clear. We'd wanted to visit Glendalough and the weather was perfect for it. Years ago we had been there. A wet, wet, wet day. This could only be better.
My sister drove. I was intrigued that she took "the long way around" as I had on the previous visit. We drove by many scenes from our childhood. Tradition counts for much with us, as does memory
Our Summers, growing up, were spent in the Wicklow mountains. Two months, at least, each year in a cottage of which I've said "think of anything - it didn't have it". Electricity, running water, that kind of thing. But it had a huge hearth around which we heard stories, lots of space without for children to burn off energy and access to the beauty of "the garden of Ireland", as Wicklow is known, just outside the red front door.
When we were a little older we hiked, my father, my older sister and I, over the mountains and down beside the waterfall, past the mining village - mine and miners long gone - into the valley of Glendalough.
The valley of St. Kevin - no relation - and a monastic settlement dating back fourteen centuries. Even with all the tourists and a "€1 for a photo with an Irish Chieftain" - who was playing brave Scottish airs on a very Scottish bagpipe, but let's not quibble - there is a peace to the place.
The graveyard, near the iconic Round Tower, sports gravestones worn smooth with time. Only the fact of their existence attests to the final resting place of some soul. Yet the graveyard also holds within its embrace members of families who are but recently dead.
Some things continue to serve their purpose. Some things do not change.
The upper lake is still there, quiet, serene. My sister and I can still skip stones on its surface.
The silence still seeps into your bones and the weight of time lies heavy all around.