As it turned out, the closer to the Burren we got, the more optimistic I became about the weather; though it was still raining, there were lighter patches of sky starting to appear. When we finally parked in the middle of the Burren National Park and contemplated walking up a hill to see what images could be made, it was only lightly misting. I looked at Ingrid and asked the question, and she said "why not!" Ever the pessimist, before loading up with cameras, I suited up with boots, rain pants and a raincoat...only to have nothing more than the occasional mist occur during the session.
After a short debate over whether we should head east or west, we decided to walk inland (east), as Cappaghkennedy was marked with a tomb on the road map. After almost an hour of walking, first getting to the crest of the hill and then wandering around the top, seeking the Cappaghkennedy tomb (we never found it), Ingrid and I began to work together.
Though the rain held off, the wind rushing across the hilltop was quite strong, and swiftly took its toll on Ingrid; each time we started working, it was under five minutes before she needed to take a break, get clothed and try to warm up again by walking briskly over the rough heath. As we moved across the landscape, by happenstance more than design, we kept returning to the same point of inspuration; scrubby wind-swept Hawthorne trees that grew among the stone walls that separated the fields.
Saying the trees are wind-swept is something of an understatement - on the top of the hill, the trees grew horizontally, and one Hawthorne in particular was easily 20' tall...or rather, 8' tall, and at least 20' from side to side. As soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted an image of Ingrid lying within its boughs. After a quick test (the tree barely moved under my weight), I asked Ingrid to climb up into it, and recline on her back, arching out into the branches that reached out across the moorland.
By this session, Ingrid and I have worked together in Ireland for a solid ten days, but I can honestly say that this is only the second image we've made that I knew with certainly, at the time it was made, was a success. I can think of nothing I have made in the twenty-eight years I have worked with the Nude that looks like this image - and the minute I made it, it was burned into my mind's eye, and hung there for the rest of the day. This image is the epitome of why I wanted to do this project in Ireland.
In the end, we decided to acknowledged the gift the only session of the day had given us (the image in the horizontal tree) and admit the rest of the day was lost to poor weather. As we drove back to Galway with thoughts of warm food and drinks, I have to admit I still had a ghost image of Ingrid within the tree haunting my mind's eye.