I follow the Blarney witch to the top of Blarney castle. I can’t help but be arrested by that coy smile beneath soft silver-pink curls. A smiled flash of freckles, with stories recounted of travels abroad: The Great Pyramids, Mayan ruins, Vietnam. I follow those long golden legs shouting kicks of bliss at eye level in front of me as they climb ever higher up narrow staircases, forcing my pursuit into even steeper passageways.
I feel adrift. Perhaps from the height and elevated heart. But intuition tells me this witch has cast a spell. Perhaps not consciously. Perhaps it is the magnetism of inner lights. Or maybe I’m just crazy for some girl again.
I run through the paralells of each of our realities. Different travels bringing us to the same place at the same time. A magnetism, where though she caught my eye much earlier in the gardens below, I soon forgot her until ending up in line behind her, as if it was perhaps a requisite test to earn Blarney’s gift of eloquence. Well, do I talk to her and if so, what do I say?
Before the Blarney stone, we stand. The beautiful witch and a bumbling fool. And I wonder what the clown poet could ever receive from the gift of gab. Perhaps an award winning novel. Or the royalties from a subsequent film. Or maybe just the delight of a kiss with this gorgeous lass.
But alas, she passes just out of reach. Up and over and under the brick wall to kiss the stone, and then back on her nimble feet rushing towards the exit. I lay down and do the same, and disoriented with my eyes closed, I start to kiss the wall.
“You’ve got the wrong stone,” the man holding my legs calls down. “No, not that one either. A little lower now. Yes, there you go. That’s the Blarney stone.”
So what does it mean, when a clown kisses the wrong Blarney stone and with his eyes closed. I start to wonder. I taste a mixture of earth and salt lick in my mouth. I’m still pondering this when I end up in line again behind the witch and her stepfather, this time heading down.
“They should bring David Mitchell up here,” the step father says, making conversation.
“Oh, I think I read some of him. Not writing, so well lately?” I respond, still daft from my head upside down and letting the gab sink in.
“He’s a great writer. I got to see him speak in Houston once. I found his first few books a real treat. But the last two, he kind of lost it.”
Slowly, I recognize the subtle gift of the conversation. Minutes after kissing the Blarney stone, some one is telling me to read David Mitchell. A book by him with “Dreams” in the title. I have the foresight to write it down. But the girl is pulling him onwards, with that usual embarassment children hold for their parents striking up unusual conversations.
It takes me the whole flight down the stairs, still lost in a revelry, to realize that by being in line behind her and kissing the stone after her, I indirectly had my first kiss with the Blarney witch.
I go seeking her in the Druid ruins somewhere west in the castle gardens. There’s rock circles, rock piles, and all sorts of places to make wishes. I climb through a cave and out a hedge maze. Eventually, I find the Witch’s Stone. Here she’s represented more in her faery tale form. A stone formed to look like a much older witch with a long nose and severe eyes. The pink-silver hair has turned completely white. Upon her head is a pile of change, so there is where I leave my tithe.
The blarney is still rushing through me, so there’s no wish I find to recite. I merely think “abundance” and go walking on into a garden labelled “The Faery Realm”. Through twists and turns I wander. Past golden flowers and fluttering streams. Eventually the maze has surrounded me.
I come to a bend in the path and there lies upon a rock, the full wing of a magpie. The rest of the bird nowhere to be found. The blue, black, and white of the wing shining up under the sun. In my fingertips the feathers fall away naturally and I gather them up for a future dream catcher or some other craft. The witch sure has blessed me.
A kiss and some feathers. The gold in these Irish castles has my type of charm. I look back on my day of wonderment and laugh at the eloquence.