This week in a sweeping gesture, the buffalo became the first national mammal of the United States. But it is just that, a gesture. For the sad truth for those who care to look beyond the glaze of regurgitated headlines and political half truths is that the American buffalo is persecuted still. In Yellowstone, the worlds first national park, America's last wild buffalo succumb to an axe wielded by the state of Montana to protect cowboys and their cows.
Since the beginning of Syria's civil war more than 2 million of it's citizens have fled to neighboring countries with more fleeing every day. In Jordan alone there are more than 550,000 Syrians, over half of them children. In January I travelled to Jordan as part of a team with Clowns Without Borders Ireland
The plane landed in Zurich on time after a harried journey on train, taxi and plane from Dublin. We took the zug south to Interlaken squeezing ourselves, our gear into the commuter rush of Bern and towns in between. Dusk fell as we arrived in Interlaken and came together with far flung friends. A wedding ensued of fairytale dimensions in a castle watched over by famous Alpen peaks like Eiger and Jungfrau. A sunset barely believable blazed across the sky and coloured the waters of the lakes and tinged the peaks pink high above our heads.
I can't exactly recall the first time I read Heaney but I know as the years passed away in America I would find myself intermittently lost in one of his poems thinking of home. Hearing the "squelch and slap of soggy peat" and the shovel slice or boots stick into the wet sod earth.