We’ve walked a lot this year. Every day, twice a day, through woods, along shores and country roads, on streets in Belfast, Cork, and Dublin. Fine during the summer, but now our walks are often drenched and always cold. The other day, rare sunshine burnishes the air. I’m in an oneiric state, alert only to old lichenous stones in quare arrangements, birds creeping in the submarine gloom of hedgerows, trees arching like the lofty vaults of a cathedral. The burr of the road is solid under my feet, unlike the marshy ditch, half water, half earth, in which we step in to let a car pass on the boreen. Blessings are conferred in consecrated places, usually fancy buildings furnished with marble and gilded surfaces. But nature is its own sacred anteroom of the divine, baptised by a cool breeze, hallowed by light and birdsong and golden fields read like hymnals.