Kilkee Cliffs

Better than the Cliffs of Moher? Better?!

Tim, the Vagabond tour guide, promises the Kilkee Cliffs are better than the well known Cliffs of Moher. His eyes glisten because he knows we’re in for a treat.

Awesome! I can hardly contain my excitement. Let’s get hiking, NOW.

Although, a quiet place in my heart is preoccupied at the same time. I expect to hear from the guy back home who I’m dating. With me traveling, I value communicating every day more heavily since I like to feel close to him by sharing our experiences while we’re apart. Via text or video messages is as good as it gets with distance. It’s been a couple days since I’ve heard anything from him and I don’t like it. Naively, I keep this feeling quiet, figuring this way I don’t have to actually feel whatever this unsettling feeling is at all.

With anticipation for the Kilkee Cliffs, the six of us set off on the hike, racing against the final bits of light and the looming clouds in the sky. What a great adventure ahead!

The winding concrete path has signs from the Healthy Ireland summer campaign, Feel Good Together. One sign reads, ‘The more you move, the better your mood.’ How fitting to read that when I’m internally conflicted to even feel bad. How encouraging. Perhaps my mood can improve as I continue to move on this hike.

As the cold wind blows, I pull my hood tighter to keep the cold out. The air feels refreshing even if I’m not comfortable with how cold it is out. In feeling refreshed, I am momentarily distracted from feeling upset with the cold and hiking.

With every step of the incline, the waves come into view. I gradually feel peace rise in my being as I watch the waves hit the rocks over and over with force that has shaped the rocks into a natural amphitheater over time. How soothing! I want more.

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I feel so much fascination about the mighty ocean and rocks, which are who knows how old. The amount of white foam displays how forceful the waves are hitting the rocks and there is a lot of it. Moreover, the sound of the waves hitting the rocks is hypnotic. I could listen to it for hours. Whoosh. There’s a roar sound to it, too, which displays its power.

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“Don’t get so close to the edge,” Tim warns me. I snap out of my peaceful trance back into the moment with my group. Aimee is taking selfies while Tim stands farther back like he’s watching his sheep.

We continue to hike and then the cliffs are visible. My breath is taken away by their majestic height and layers of rock. Suddenly, I feel silly for blowing up my first world problem about a guy back home not texting me. In the grand scheme of life, not getting a text is nothing compared to the great formations of these cliffs, these beautiful forces of nature.

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With the waves as my soundtrack, the wind as my anchor to the present moment, and the view of the majestic cliffs, I feel the grand power of nature. What a huge being that surrounds us all the time. If I take more notice of it, I have a readily available tool for instant perspective taking – an instant reminder that there are greater concerns to focus on and beauty to enjoy. 

Now I become very aware of how tiny any of my problems are in the grand scale of life as I stare at the cliffs. I feel profound humility right now. There is always so much more in the world than the narrow scope of whatever I’ve made the center of my world, like not hearing from a guy. Actually, I value peace within myself so the distraught over not hearing from a guy is truly insignificant for the present. What a zen moment.

At this point, the time left to race whatever sunlight is left in the day is short, so we start our hike back to the van. Along the hike, Tim points out the dark rain cloud coming our way.

We’re definitely getting rained on when that cloud is over us. Suddenly, I feel enlivened to take action for my desire to stay dry. 

Robin and I quickly spring into action and run ahead to the shelter down the path. We are determined to stay as dry as possible. We laugh as we run, unsure if we’ll beat the rain. The excitement feels like being at recess and playing with friends. I’m propelled forward by the race.

Funny, earlier I was running away from being honest with myself about a feeling and here I am actually running. 

Huffing and puffing in the shelter, I look out at the rain cloud. What a wondrous sight to see the rain start in the distance and roll toward us. I’m in awe of the cascade of raindrops moving from the distance then closer to me. The sheets of raindrops fall in succession like a wave moves left to right when breaking.

The rest of the group gets to the shelter a bit rained on. They clamor about the thrill of racing against the rain. Together, we wait out the rain in the shelter, in awe of the beauty of the rainfall.

The moment could have lasted forever and I would have known all the bliss I needed in this life. For my future self, I realize if I am feeling upset, I do have to actually feel it because like the rain, what might usually be seen as a damper is really a part of gaining clarity. The act of feeling then allows for perspective change to be possible. I can change my perspective by feeling awe which is easily accessible with nature, like these beautiful cliffs.

Also, by playing more, like racing the rain, I feel alive. The focus on these feelings of awe and playfulness make for enjoyment and peace. A peaceful life is often what I crave and now I’m a bit wiser about how to attain it with immersing myself in the beauty of nature. 

Finally, from the sheer presence of the cliffs, I am reminded how most of the problems I highlight about my life are trivial among the grand scheme of my whole life to be lived. Nothing like massive cliffs to show me my place.

Eventually the guy does get in touch which I feel a rush of excitement for getting what I want, like a hit of instant gratification. In the seat of the bus, with my eyes locked on the phone screen, I somehow lose sight of the clarity I understood surrounded by the cliffs. 

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