outwait outrun outwit


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I am writing again. It feels like hell, but at least when I return from the library, I am no longer as disordered and anxious as I have been in the past month, when I couldn't bear the long, aimless nights.

February is a swift month, brisk with travel and social engagements. Last weekend I was reading tarot over vino in a village by the sea, tomorrow I’ll dine in Galway.


Storm Ciara blew in during my trip to the sea village, a fury of snow and ice and wind. We holed up in a small house overlooking sand dunes. Around the corner is a casino, which closes promptly at midnight. At night, a street lamp across from the house switches on, lighting up a patch of grass.

I managed to walk along the beach before the storm arrived. Lonely piers, ring forts set in electric-fenced fields, castle ruins. Geese quarrel in kelp and wrack. A castellated bathhouse appears, right on the water, as if a mirage; it’s boarded-up and missing a turret.

There are rows of houses, set far from the beach, but it doesn’t make the setting less eerie. The otherworldly aura of myth persists in the sea-tossed landscape: according to local legend, a great black boar once rose from the sea and killed anyone who touched its poisonous bristles. The demonic beast was eventually slain, and the tumulus it is buried under is called Muckduff (muic dubh, black pig in Irish), known as "the grave of the black pig". The pig is an ambivalent figure in European mythology, sacred yet feared as a voracious devourer of crops, and it appears in Celtic mythology as the ferocious opponent of heroes.

Every summer, the villagers celebrate the legend with a festival featuring pig races, bouncy castles, beach yoga, a children’s triathlon, music in every pub, and a disco. A pig is roasted too; in this context, it is a ritual connecting the present to the far past, renewing local feeling and memory for this landscape.


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