Dancing At The Crossroads

February 9, 2021

The Light of Ancient Wisdom

It seems I’m accumulating vouchers. I booked flights last October to be in Ireland for the month of March. Several women friends planned to join me for part of that time and it was to be a grand adventure of visiting sacred sites from our HazelWood cottage base. Now that booking is yet another voucher. Yes, I could take a refund. But the voucher is good for five years and comes with a discount on future bookings. I refuse to give up. 

I’m hoping for May. We’ve shifted the Sacred Ireland journeys from May/June to September/October. But that is all looking less and less likely as time passes and the pandemic continues to rage rampant. I’m of course paying close attention to what’s unfolding in Ireland. The conditions are similar but the reaction is so very different and so reflective of the Irish people and culture.

In the States we embrace a ‘me’ culture. It’s all about me. A sad distortion of our ethos of rugged individualism. In Ireland they embrace a ‘we’ culture. It’s not all about ‘me’, it’s about community. This is an ethos that enabled the Irish people to survive times of famine, devastation, and subjugation. It’s an ethos that that moved them to dance at the crossroads when dance and music were outlawed by the English – music and dance were essential to community and still are. It’s an ethos embedded in the heritage  and culture of the Irish people. It’s an ethos that was reflected last week in The Irish Times.

In his column, Fintan O’Toole writes that adlibbing and improvising as the State did at the start of the pandemic is no longer acceptable. He urges the State to listen to the common sense of the public. “This is a classic case of all the attention going to the rule-breakers. The vast majority of us are not yobs. We’re responsible citizens. We’ve been sending a very clear message. We’ll take even more pain – so long as it works.”

Another writer, Kathy Sheridan, examines why the Irish public hasn’t turned to violent protest in response to the pandemic. The Irish have willingly and generously complied with the rules, for the most part. “Communal solidarity and co-operation has helped the country weather the Covid storm,” she writes.

Communal solidarity and cooperation. It’s how the Irish are weathering this storm. It’s how they weathered past storms. Right now with the lockdown restrictions and 5km travel limit the Irish people aren’t dancing anywhere together. But they will. They will accept whatever it takes so they can again gather to play music, to sing and dance, to raise a pint, and to be in community. For it’s all about community. 

Community. Common-unity. It’s not just about surviving the dark times. It’s about thriving. It’s about dancing at the crossroads, whether literal or metaphoric, together.

Judith – judith@stonefires.com