Jagun walk, March 28
A magical autumnal morning, cold air to start that’s how I caught a glimpse of Stephen’s Banded Snake, warming on the edge of the track. Too quick for my camera, as was the Brown Goshawk. Lot of birds out and about with Golden Whistlers battling in song.
Heading to the the Aran Islands a few years back I tried to get hold of Tim Robinson’s book, The Stones of Aran: Pilgrimage (The Lilliput Press, 1986), it was out of print so I scoured second hand bookshops in Dublin and further west, without luck. The book tells of his getting to know the places (having moved from London) by walking sunwise (clockwise) “at an inquiring, digressive, and wondering pace.” He was interested in the history, mythology, ecology and geology – in everything about each landmark and place.
Rather than Rousseau’s drifting Robinson talks of the ‘good step’, sensitive to the ground and surrounding animals, birds and insects – walking as a way of getting in touch with the environment.
Bron and I walked for a couple of hours, the track wide enough for us to keep in step. We alerted each other to the birds, Wonga pigeons in a tree, Silvereyes and Thornbills.
Thinking of Robinson and the work ahead of me I remember an Irish nature writing genre called dinnseanchas, defined by Seamus Heaney as “poems and tales which relate the original meanings of place names and constitute a form of mythological etymology.” I would need the Gumbaynggirr language for this.