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This is the only long post in this series on Concordia. The rest have narrower topics and are mostly pictures and links.
Dear Nuala (NOO-lah),
I have less than two weeks before your visit, and too many other things to do, including figuring out how to fix the refrigerator that turned itself into a freezer today (M-m-m, frozen pickles), but I want to document something going on in the Balsamea woods that is about you, or because of you. I want it to be on record, forever. I also want to make sure you know about it, just in case your tour here doesn’t do this topic justice.
I’ve given you the pseudonym Nuala to protect you from the stigma of associating with me, and to protect your privacy. Even though only three or four other people will read this, if anybody, everybody on the Internet is a close neighbor with a fence to gossip over.
It’s a nice Irish name. It came from Fionnuala (or Finnguala), notable in the popular Irish myth, The Children of Lir (PDF). This presentation of the myth, with the art I added to it, a Thomas Moore poem, and extensive end-notes, may be the best treatment of the topic you’ll find. Especially since you’re probably not looking anyway. But seriously, it was a pile of work putting it together, and worth it. It’s probably the best part of this post. (It even has a naked picture of Nuala.)
Nuala (/ˈnuːlə/; Irish: [ˈn̪ˠuəl̪ˠə]) is an Irish female given name, derived from Irish mythology – being either a diminutive form of Fionnuala [or Fionnghuala] (“fair shoulder”), the daughter of Lir, or an alternate name for Úna (perhaps meaning “lamb”), wife of Finvarra, king of the fairies. — from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuala
Fionnuala – In Irish mythology, Finnguala (modern spellings: Fionnghuala or Fionnuala; literally fionn-ghuala meaning “fair shoulder”) was the daughter of Lir of the Tuatha Dé Danann. In the legend of the Children of Lir, she was changed into a swan and cursed by her stepmother, Aoife, to wander the lakes and rivers of Ireland, with her brothers Fiachra, Conn and Aodh, for 900 years until saved by the marriage of Lairgren, son of Colman, son of Cobthach, and Deoch, daughter of Finghin, whose union broke the curse. ‘The Song of Albion’, with lyrics by Thomas Moore speaks of her wanderings.
The name is anglicized as Fenella. The shortened version Nuala is commonly used as a first name in contemporary Ireland. — from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fionnuala
As you know, about ten years ago (maybe more, I’m not sure … the earliest photo I have is 2009), I dedicated a special maple tree to you, with your name. Nuala’s tree (or just “Nuala Tree”) is now the centerpiece of a forest retreat with unique natural features and special relationships with many components of Balsamea’s trail network.
The place is called Concordia Park, or, as I’ll normally put it, just Concordia.
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