One of the many advantages of living abroad for extended periods of time is that your paths cross with people who, there’s a good chance, you would have never met otherwise. A case in point is Jane (Deane) Babb, who we met while living in Poland back in the late 1990s. Jane was visiting Warsaw from Dublin and we had dinner with her and our friend John Babb on one or two occasions.
As with many of our acquaintances from foreign postings we don’t hear from the Babbs often but when we do it’s always good to catch up on families, careers and events. A recent catch-up came from John in the way of a link to an essay that Jane wrote recently for Quiet Revolution, an interesting website devoted to interludes of quiet.
And in her essay Jane writes – perhaps surprisingly given the stereotypical view of the Irish – of the power of quiet and silence in Ireland’s writing and mythology. My recent trip to Ireland has led me to reexamine the Táin Bó Cúailnge – oddly in the Thomas Kinsella translation that Jane recommended back in 1998 and I still have on my bookshelf – as well as many of the myths as recorded by Mary Haney, Lady Gregory and others. Amongst the violence – and my but my people were a violent people – there are always those grace notes of quiet and contemplation.
A left click on the rondelle (The Tale of the Twelve Wild Geese) will take you to Jane’s thoughts that I wanted to share with you.