Liamy Mac Nally
My good friend and neighbour Richard White has just published a new book. ‘Ramblings with Nature’ is a little gem. It captures the essence of this lovely gentleman who is one with nature. The book is an anthology of his writings for the Springboard Writing Magazine.
In her introduction, the editor, Joan Garlick, states: “Everything is a joy to Richard. He writes simply and from the heart which, together with his great love of nature, comes through in his writing as he tells us of his pet blackbirds and others of God’s creatures.”
Richard has an uncanny knack of seeing beyond the mere substance of any created thing. He can delve into its essence with ease and enjoy what it has to give. Nothing escapes his eye or appreciation from the gentle snowdrop to birds, animals and people. He exudes joy and enthusiasm in his determined fashion.
His book traces his writings over a number of years for the magazine with stories from the seasons written up like a diary. “Autumn has come again. While I rejoice and welcome its arrival, I am somewhat saddened at the passing of another Summer.”
He goes on to describe the weather: “A terrible beauty was born about two months ago: a marvellous bundling up of the clouds occurred, leading to thundery, erratic and showery weather conditions. I have seen those bundled up clouds gracing the day and evening skies with a delightful grandeur and majesty… Fire is a great friend, but a dreadful enemy. Water also is essential for life both plant, animal and human, again a valuable friend, but oh, what an enemy!”
A Tipperary man by birth and a nature man at heart, Richard’s presence brings context to every situation. He has that uncanny knack of seeing things from the Creator’s perspective. Some people experience it as a sixth sense but to him it is second nature.
Here he is on the full moon: “There it is, the full moon peeping over the eastern horizon and shedding its tender rays over the tranquil earth. I spy it magically through the spruce trees, then an opening appears, and I clearly see it in all its amber and orange splendour. The bat is flying in lovely darting and circular movements at the opposite side of a line of trees. A herd of cattle is lying in the shade of a little wood. A scene of peace, serenity and loveliness is mine that carnal words would fail to describe. The presence/fragrance of the Maker of the rising moon can be as good as felt as well as smelt, on this amazing night.”
Richard’s life is full of creatures, many of which became pets, like his cock chaffinch. “His habit was to come to the step at the back door, and I had a flag stone standing upright and concreted into the side of the step. He used to love to perch there on that flag and ask for his dinner. Sometimes on close observation and examination, I was astounded at his beauty – the gorgeous colours with their perfect blending. Even his beak was lovely.”
The blackbird and robin were also regular callers to the White household for sustenance. One wonders if deep down they were aware that they were being given more than mere food.
“It has been dawning on me that our earth is a great and living Art Gallery, with the magnificent and ever changing canopy of the sky overhead.” So says Richard in his most inimitable fashion. What a beautiful way at looking at creation.
Richard’s writings are also imbued with the experience of his childhood. Songs and poems from his early years come back to visit during his musings. Percy French is rusted up with “The Garden of Eden has vanished they say” while Seán O’Farrell is also out and about at the rising of the moon - all done naturally and majestically.
The whin bushes, purple crocus flowers, wild currants, grass – “grandly tufted as it is” – daisies, trees and shrubs all get a mention as they catch the eye of the keen observer that Richard is. What his eye sees his heart embraces. Richard also pays tribute to his lovely wife Pat after she died – “a wonderful woman in so many ways…”
William Wordsworth’s ode ‘To the Cuckoo’ refers to his two-fold shout. Richard says: “My cuckoo has a three-fold shout and it seemed to resound through and fill the whole dome of the sky. ‘Cuck-hoo-hoo’ he was singing and not just ‘cuck-hoo’ as other cuckoos do.” And you should read his description of snails, not forgetting mushrooms and a spider’s web!
This book is beautiful. It is a real treasure from a pure heart. Richard White, poet, singer and writer. Comhghairdeas!