January is quiet here in Dingle. Shops and restaurants closed. The darkness matches the solemn mood in the town as people retreat in order to emerge again in spring with renewed energy. So too, have I which means for today I will reflect back to December, the festive season.
The festive season offered many different events and, of course, we participated in all of them. One, in particular, I want to share. New Year's Eve. Now, I'll briefly say that as the night progressed this tiny town filled with people. Young people, celebrating in the streets so that one could barely move through town. Fortunately, my vantage point for the parade and countdown was from up on the bridge wall. It was wall to wall people, music, voices, all of which were somewhat overwhelming for this introvert. I'm happy to have experienced it but likely won't need to again.
The New Year's Eve event I really want to share is the 300 years of Irish minstrel music concert we attended. It was held in the old chapel in what was a convent but is now a cultural and educational center. The chapel is quite small, the walls lined with pews as they originally were, box seats. The famous stained glass windows glowed in the candlelight, the only lights except for a small music stand light in the sanctuary for the musicians. It was incredibly cold in the scarcely heated room and even the packed house offered no warmth. Until the whistles of an unseen minstrel came from the back of the chapel. An air of ancient solemnity fell upon us as we watched and listened for the minstrel making his way past us to the sanctuary. There, he was joined by three others, playing guitar, and singing with him. All in black the minstrels illuminated by candlelight stood as if from another time and place, their songs echoing centuries of stories.
Then it happened. Again. I found myself struggling to fight back tears. In that moment, I realized for the first time, that maybe I don't have to keep fighting back my tears. I didn't need to figure out why they crept up, I knew. It was simply that the music, the place, all of it was moving and my reaction was to be so affected. Which I imagine is what any artist wants their audience to be. So, in that tiny chapel in the dark, I realized that my sensitivity isn't something I need to continue to cover up with a hard exterior. Instead, I will embrace it for the gift it is.I will continue to break down the hardened edges of my heart and soul 'till I find my way back to me, the authentic, sensitive me. And I will stop apologizing for being that me. After all, isn't that really why I have come on this journey?