The tectonic plates of me.
Up until recently I lived in the north west of Ireland. I lived in Donegal town and then in two different locations close to Sligo.
The only thing that kept me there for over eight years was… The landscape, the geology. It is so close to my idea of perfect. Coming from the UK I know Devon and Cornwall really well, I like it there but I always feel an unease with the manicure hedges and gardens. The Sligo are is natural or at least it feels it is. No grooming, no trying to make it look beautiful for tourists – It already is beautiful in its natural state, unkempt and wild, I really like that, I prefer places like that.
I was always at my happiest when walking the coast line. Where I lived in Maugherow was literally magical. There were so many beautiful locations in the area where I lived, I really was so so very lucky.
One particular place in the area of Ballyconnell was my favourite. It was where I found ‘Hulk’ the baby seal that I rescued with my friend Rick. Every step you take as you walk over the ancient plates of rock towards the sea you walk over fossils, not of animals, but of plants, it really is amazing. I was told it was believed to be the site of a fossilised rainforest which over millions of years had been raised to the surface by the slow motion collision of two tectonic plates pushing against each other, one deflected up, and one down. I was standing on the up.
The north west coastline is riddled with sites like this, it is amazingly beautiful. When standing on these rocks I would become aware of the reality that the rock I am standing on it actually moving. Of course I could not detect the movement, it might move one or two centimetres a year, an irrelevant distance in the great scheme of things but… It is still moving.
What I began to realise was that I am no different to the slowly moving plates on which I was standing. A picture formed in my mind that the planet surface is covered with plates which are all constantly in motion. I began to realise that I was no different. Everything that makes me who I am is in a state of evolution. Likes, dislikes, sexuality, beliefs, literally everything that makes me who I am is in a state of movement, of evolution… Change.
My first Olive Moment was exactly this. At one point in my life I experienced eating an olive and decided I didn’t like it, then for what ever reason I did. The thing I began to think of was, when was it that the change occurred. It could have been literally the day after I tried them in my teenage years, or it could have been the day before I tried them again thirty five years after.
The point is, that a large amount of days would have passed with me living under a false impression of myself. Believing that I like or dislike olives is of course irrelevant, hardly worth the energy it takes to write this text, but what it symbolises for me is huge, as huge as when two of the earths plates cause an earthquake, it was only an olive but it was only the tip of the iceberg and it was huge.
How many other opinions have I falsely regurgitated over the course of my life in the belief that I know me. I believe now that I hardly know me, and I challenge myself to know me a little better every day, every opportunity I get to challenge myself as to who I am and what I believe.
So, thank you Tom, I will never be able to thank you enough for laying out the jigsaw pieces of who I am and giving me the platform to grow, to evolve…
ps. Tom will be explained at a later point in time.