I took this image while touring the western side of Ireland on the Kerry Camino, along the Dingle Peninsula.
In the moment, I was struck with the stillness of the scene. Birds singing, lapping waves, blue sky and sunshine, and a mild breeze blowing off the sea. I thought the cairn and castle together in the frame would be interesting.
Looking at the image later, I noticed the layers of seeming permanence: a short-lived cairn, in front of ancient ruins, atop ever-present beach stone.
The big round rocks make up what’s called a storm beach, created by years and years of storms throwing the stones up onto shore from the sea bottom. If I came back next year, the stones would appear to all be in the same place.
The stone ruins in the background are of Minard Castle, built around 1550. It was intact for almost a hundred years, until Cromwell’s army blew it up in 1650. Three hundred and sixty years later, its crumbling form is still there.
A recent tourist probably made the stone cairn, carefully balancing each flat stone atop the next. As easily as it came to be, it will sometime, maybe soon, fall back into a pile of unrelated stones. I took care not to disturb its peaceful stand.
For a time on one June afternoon, we were all together and present, a confluence of some of this universe’s forms, each in our own irrevocably changing state of impermanence.