In County Clare, outside of Galway, lies the Burren, a large limestone landscape, eerie in its silence. Walking on the Burren is like walking on the moon.
Formed in the ice age when geological plates shifted and the earth's crust cracked and warped, the Burren is home to alpine flowers that grow in harmony with tropical ferns in the crevices of stone, all of them tossed there by shifts in the earth.
Once there was a roar in the deepest part of the earth, then a terrifying explosion. The surface ruptured. With a violent shifting of geological plates, all life was wrested from the soil that nourished it. Massive icebergs broke apart, glaciers advanced and retreated, colliding into each other. The sea rose and fell; hot and cold waters swirled around each other; the water swallowed the land. Limestone plateaus were formed.
When land and sea found their balance, tiny flowers with yellow petals, tossed by forces beyond their control, found resting places in the warm crevices of limestone. Despite a lack of sun, they pushed the tender fibrils of their roots along the hard edge of limestone until they found enough soil to make a home. They survived and found a way to prevail over the harsh rock. They bloomed proudly wherever they found themselves, tossed their seeds to the wind, and gave birth to generations that would follow.
Step onto this desert of stone, and walk out toward the horizon. The shadows over the Burren are deep. The sun trembles behind the clouds, sending rays of light through the mist. The gray clouds at the edge of the cliff will wrap around you.