The River's Glory
Of what to me is Firbolg or Partholonian, of divisions and elections, of comings and
goings, to-ings and fro-ings, uppings and downings? My course is set, my strength ongoing,
fed from springs underground and the rains above. Blue skies. White clouds. Fish in my
streams. The mayfly in season. The droning of bees. The flutter of leaves. The stillness of
reeds. Green- growing rushes, buttercups and daisies. Snowdrops in spring, bluebells in
summer, briony in autumn. Snowdrifts in winter. Burrowing badgers. Processions of stoats.
Red foxes, leaping hares, startled rabbits, slinking rats, hooty owls. The song of the
thrush, the robin, the wren, the cuckoo's call, and the clocking hen. The whirring
partridge, and the lark singing in the clear air. Butterflies and evening moths. Thirsty doe
and randy elk. Ash and elm, yew and oak, white mistletoe and red-berried holly. Low
creeping nut bush, and furze in the hollows. Field mice and ladybugs. Beetles and spiders.
All things small and all things big. Dandelion puffs and weeping willow tree. Robins and
turtledoves. Twisty eels and fast-swimming otters. These are some of my every-day things.
We live together. We sing together. We exist. We are. They depend on me, and I on them.
Spreading oak, the birch and the boortree, alder and elder, aspen and pine, ash and
creeping ivy, line my banks, my loughs, my twistings and turnings. The wild boar and the
chattering squirrel, vixen and wolf, drink from my waters. Salmon, trout and eels, bream,
roach and pike, swim in my depths and in my shallows. Geese and ducks, swans and gulls,
sail on my surface. Darting water beetles tempt fish and bird alike. Herons stride, then
stand, silent, immobile sentries. The angry wren, the whispering linnet, golden-beaked
blackbirds, the brazen jackdaw, plover and curlew dance and wheel in the air above. Spiders
spin webs, mirrored with spray. Slow-moving snails leave shimmy trails. The song of the
cricket heralds peace and tranquillity. Cresses grow in plentiful profusion. Blackthorn
trees, heather and fern, bracken and fraughan, whin bush and sharp-stinging nettles, bushes
of blackberries and sweet-tasting raspberry, nestle close to my banks and spread out through
Running fast, or sliding slow, whitewater rapid or black water eddy, swirling, twirling,
blowing water bubbles, onward and onward, on my way I go. Through the daylight hours, under
moonshine rays, in the heat of summer painting rainbows in the sky, in the cold of winter
spinning sheets of frozen glass.
Free, untrammelled, that was me.
Then came other men.
"The Age of the World, 4518. Aedh Ruad, son of Badhran, after he had been seven years in
the sovereignty of Ireland, was drowned in Eas-Ruaidh, and buried in the mound over the
margin of the cataract; so that from him Sith-Aedha and Eas-Aedha are called."
In time Eas-Aedha became Assaroe, and Sith-Aedha is now Mullaghnashee.
(Annals of the Four Masters).
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