Friday, July 27, 2012

Clonmel to Clogheen

Clonmel to Clogheen 7.26.12 The sun was out and it was a nice day for a good stretch of the legs. I left the track of the Munster Way and walked the fifteen miles directly from Clonmel to Clogheen. I had planned on walking the Munster Way, which was a two-day circuitous route to Clogheen. But, taking the direct route saved one day, which I will use next week to divide forty-five miles into a three-day walk instead of two days. The trail next week has some standing stones and circle stones I definitely want to spend some time exploring. The countryside I walked through the last few days has been covered with farms. There were lots of hay and some wheat. I saw one vegetable farm where they had planted several acres of onions and cabbage. The onion fields reminded me of the Mayfield’s onion fields in Buckeye. The Mayfield’s told me they once traveled to Ireland in support of some vegetable farmers. So, I had to wonder if the Irish onion farm I saw was the result of the Mayfield’s visit. A stretch of about four miles of the road I walked was closed due to timbering work. The trees had been cut and now the men were using a rather precarious method of dragging the felled trees up the hill. I suspicioned my safety conscious father-in-law who had been the president of Arizona Sand and Rock might not have approved of their “techniques.” I moved along quickly. The road was not consider a major highway, but it was a well traveled two lane road where the legal speed was eight kilometers per hour, meaning everyone, including the trucks and buses, drove much faster. Since there are so many farms, the traffic also included a sundry of farm equipment. Typically, in America, a farm tractor will slow traffic to a slow crawl. Not in Ireland. Tractors here must be super-charged! The side of the road mostly had space of a foot or two for me to walk. However, more than a few times the tall thorny brush had grown right to the road. Only once a car and a tractor were traveling in the opposite directions where I had to squeeze into the hedge and become friends with the thorns. Fortunately, my backpack was my cushion and I didn’t suffer a scratch. Tomorrow I’m looking forward to getting back onto the mountain and pastoral trails. Somehow my concern of walking down the wrong forest road has significantly diminished. Ah, life is all relative, isn’t it? The pilgrimage has slowed me down. It has also taken me out of my comfort zone, at least for a bit. To walk is to see the lumbering operation and fondly remember my father-in-law and the rare vegetable farm my friends Carrie and Gary Mayfield. Walking down a busy highway has reduced my worry about walking down the wrong forest trail. Everyday I walk the pilgrimage I have learn something about myself and have been reminded of things I have let slide in my life. It is time to slow down my life’s pilgrimage to mirror my walk across Ireland.

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