There was a great item on the radio this morning. In the middle of a stressful couple of hours dealing with blocked drains (as in sewage pipes) I retreated to my office and turned on the radio, just in time to hear Ella McSweeney talking about excited cows. Yes – that’s right, excited cows. Ella had recorded a piece yesterday on a farm in Wicklow where she accompanied a farmer to his sheds as he prepared to ‘turn out’ the cows. After four long months spent indoors eating cow food and silage, the cows were about to be released back into the fields and boy were they excited? The mooooed long mooos and they kicked and skipped in a cow fashion as he opened the barn doors. Through the radio I could sense their exhilaration as they gained their freedom and their senses were bombarded by the smell and sight of fresh grass and wide open fields. Apparently it’s called Macnas – the joyful abandon of a cow let loose in a field. It was the kind of radio that made me smile and helped restore my internal equilibrium after a shitty morning (pardon the intended pun).

Internal equilibrium or balance is vital to good mental health. So it is entirely appropriate that today is the Vernal or Spring Equinox when the hours of light and darkness are exactly equal. Balance is something we all need in our lives. It is so easy for things to go out of synch and become polarised. One of my favourite affirmations is “bring all things to balance, harmony will follow.”

Like the cows in Wicklow the Spring Equinox is also about moving forward, preferably with joyful abandon. Equinox reminds us to be fully awake and engaged in our world. Spring is here, sap is rising and in the natural world it’s all about fertility, hence the association of Easter with rabbits (ultimate symbol of rampant fertility) and eggs!

It is time to be like the cows and their macnas….. get outdoors, feel the wind in your hair, the gentle rays of the sun on your face and the pulse of new life bursting forth in nature. It is also about creativity, whether that means baking a cake or being a co-creator, with Mother Nature, of abundance in your garden by making ready the soil and planting seeds.

Perhaps it’s my Celtic pagan heritage but I love reflecting on these old ‘wheel of the year’ markers. Awareness of these agricultural and astrological marker days provides us with a pause in our busy lives, even if only to be aware of the turning of the year. I like that.

Photo by Cheeseslave on Flickr

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Writing and Talking.... on the radio, on the telly and in the papers. Debut book out in Spring 2022

4 thoughts on “GETTING YOUR MACNAS ON”

  1. Unwittingly, today I followed your exhortation to “get outdoors, feel the wind in your hair, the gentle rays of the sun on your face and the pulse of new life bursting forth in nature”. Having a day off, we decided to drive to Hook Lighthouse to take a few photos. We ended up standing out on the rocks trying to capture the waves coming in. There was certainly wind in the hair though not too many rays of sunshine and the pulse definitely raced faster as several times we were nearly caught by encroaching waves!! It was a great day!

    Along the way, we saw plenty of cows and sheep but it was mainly the little lambs who were doing their version of 'macnas' in the fields!

    Lovely piece, Barbara.

  2. Your lovely piece on Spring put me in mind of holidays spent in Tenerife, the island of eternal spring and I used to think it would be lovely to live there where plants and trees were always in full leaf. But as you say, the seasons do mark the turning of the year and the first signs of spring really lift the heart. I'd miss that.

  3. I heard that piece too on the radio the other day and absolutely loved it. I told more people about it that day! I think some of them thought I was a bit mad but I loved the excitment of the cows! It was a real feelgood piece of radio!

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