Tenalach: A relationship one has with the land, air and water; a deep connection that allows you to literally hear the Earth Sing.

– Old Irish
Tenalach - original digital image by Mark W. Law - 2024

Ahh bless the Irish to come up with a single word that encompasses a whole world of meaning, a spirituality of connection, and a goal all in 8 letters!

I make no bones about missing my ‘home’, my wife hears daily about how much better ‘My Island’ is compared to this flatland concrete jungle we live in. It is a deep connection for sure, rooted no doubt in some nostalgia that has taken hold as I enter my senior years. And I suppose it only gets worse the more I reconnect with childhood friends (How ya doing Steve?) or see more of them darned shoreline pics from Lynn! Thanks guys (I think…)!

This past week has been hotter than Hades here in Ottawa on Tundra, daytime temperatures in the mid 30’s (Celsius) plus Humidex (mid to high 40’s!). Miss Frieda and I have been having a bit of a time finding conditions cool enough to play fetch, usually ending up flat out on the grass in a shady bit of the backyard.

Which brings me to ‘Tenalach’.

I spend a lot of my life in my office with a set of headphones on, talking to clients and teammates around the world about rather technical issues, eyes glued to the three monitors in front of me. It is a rather surreal world, fixing an issue in Los Angeles with a colleague in Bangalore. In some ways I love the separation, but it can be a ‘disconnected’ life. And it can begin to reflect in my life after hours, sliding easily into a routine that disconnects me from life in general. My wife, who works away from home, is constantly suggesting ways for me to get out of the house, a tad worried about this hermit in the back office. And I admit there is a bit of grumbling on my part about a trip to Giant Tiger (though they do have the best price on Dr. Phil’s in Ottawa!).

But this last week something happened in the heat wave…

Miss Frieda relaxing and connecting to the Earth.

Just lying on my back on the grass, in the shade, with Frieda, I could feel each blade of grass, smell the lilac and the steam coming off the maples, and hear a hum soft and deep; and for the first time in a very long time I felt connected to something other than my keyboard! And Frieda could sense it, lying quietly looking over at me with that little dog smile she gives when she is very happy! No dropping her ball on my stomach, no nudging my feet to get up, just the connection of quiet. And people wonder why I have such a special place in my heart for dogs?

Tenalach, more than a state, a goal, a reminder of who we really are when we take the time to reconnect to Mother Earth and listen to the songs she sings!


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