At Dzogchen Beara, if you turn south (facing the sea, go right) you can go on what they call the ‘river walk.’ The idea is that you end up at a river, some say a waterfall, but frankly, it may turn out to be one of those sights that can only be seen by the pure of heart. We certainly couldn’t find it, but then, we were handicapped by my lack of mobility (sciatica appears to be contagious) and compulsive blackberry picking. Jerry, a musician staying at the hostel, found it, and he definitely had the feel of an innocent about him. Two other guys (I liked them, but my brain is a colander) set out to look for it but like us, struck out.
Not finding the waterfall didn’t bother me a bit, actually, because my main focus was the blackberry bushes. They gladdened my aging heart. I felt like a six year old as I hobbled from one large outcrop to another, plucking and devouring the biggest and juiciest berries I could find, and reluctantly surrendering the odd one or two to my patient husband. He was equally entranced by our slow motion exploration, you’ll be relieved to hear, as it gave him ample opportunity to light up some killer weed and rest his gaze on the sea and sky. Ever the contradiction, my husband, combining in one cheerful soul a fondness for both the sublime and the terminally dangerous. My big find was wild strawberries—in September! They were divinely delicious, and the best reason yet for upping sticks and relocating to the wilds of south-west Ireland.
It was on the river walk that we met a pair of donkeys. They were guarding the swing gate that would take us onto the road. We couldn’t move them, so we ended up (after trying to make friends) climbing over the larger, five bar gate next to the blocked one. The lighter coloured donkey was rather a bland being, the dumb follower of her more charismatic mate. He was not a happy creature. I petted him a bit, but the vibe was one of temporarily hooked back malevolence ready to spring at any moment. He reminded me of OT Rinpoche actually. Well, not OT Rinpoche himself, but the shopping trip we took with him in Berlin—the one I wrote about on 21 September last year. Rinpoche invested in more than a hundred model animals at KaDeWe, but couldn’t find a good donkey, complaining that none of them had the right energy. He illustrated his point by pulling a funny face, and I can now show you a picture of what that face looked like, but curiously, it was the dark and dangerous donkey who displayed it.