by Jessica Silvis
In William Wordsworth’s The Prelude he speaks of moments of rejuvenation and epiphanies that can be drawn forth by our surroundings. Wordsworth called these moments “spots of time” that create “a renovating virtue,” that can be reflected upon when overcome with mundane life. This action is explained by Wordsworth when he states that our minds:
Are nourished and invisibly repaired;
A virtue, by which pleasure is enhanced,
That penetrates, enables us to mount,
When high, more high, and lifts us up when
These moments tend to stick in our minds and are usually sparked by some event or some setting. I refer to these moments as my life “aha!” moments and like Wordsworth they have occurred to me always in serene natural settings where I can “reset” my brain. Though I have had several in my lifetime, the moment that really comes to mind is my latest epiphany that I received from my surroundings while on honeymoon in Ireland.
While on honeymoon, my husband and I traveled around the South coast of Ireland, focusing on spending most of our time in the rural settings. We both needed a break away from the busy metro lifestyle and wanted to really focus on enjoying each other’s company to the fullest. We of course found we could do this easiest when surrounded by the awe inspiring “rustic” scenes of Ireland. One of these “rustic” spots was where I had my epiphany in a small valley called The Gap of Dunloe. The Gap is nothing more than a single car width dirt road that winds through a valley and leads to a lake one of the local buggy drivers called “Reflection Lake.” The road led through rolling farm fields, ruins of a few jagged stone cottages, and across quaint little creeks. When we arrived a few locals voiced their regret that we had visited while it was raining and feared we would not be able to see the Gap due to the fog. These weather conditions did not make either of us hesitate at all and we both eagerly set off for our hike despite the rain, cold and mist. I believe the eerie scenes we experienced there were the best we had the whole trip and caused us to reflect upon the lives of the farmers there, herding their sheep down the steep valley sides and calling to one another letting their voices echo through the Gap. While we stood and strained to watch these farmers through the fog I had a warm ebbing thought rush into my mind. I thought about how I would never be happier then I was at that very moment standing with my best friend in the rain and mud. I felt that this was a moment I needed to lock in my mind forever to pull out when I have “fallen.”
This simple rustic experience will be the highlight of my life, and does make me quite sad to think I may never experience that feeling again. Those farmers and their land inspired in me a feeling of pure ecstasy and admiration for their lifestyle. This moment was my most recent “spot of time” that I will relive again and again. Wordsworth clearly knew the power of these memories and these inspirational landscapes that leave their mark on one’s mind. Though most of Wordsworth’s imagery makes me remember Ireland, it is his “spots of time” passage in The Prelude that leaves a lasting impression and more personal connection.