Francis O'Toole: Walking on air October 04, 2016 ‘Walk on air against your better judgment’ From The Gravel Walks by Seamus Heaney (Also inscribed on his gravestone at Bellaghy, Co. Derry) I ponder those words and try to work out what Seamus is saying to us. I find the words inspirational. To me, the idea of ‘walking on air’ touches off the Divine, while still staying firmly rooted to the ground. It’s about ‘going for it’, creating a dream or vision and believing, ‘yes, I can do this’. As an Irish man, I am generally cautious; maybe this is true of most people. I often tend to be self-judgmental, building up stories and reasons in my head as to why I cannot do certain things. In other words making excuses. Seamus is suggesting that we throw caution to the wind, he’s encouraging us to be open to risk-taking, not to be inhibited. Not to be held back. As I stood at his graveside in Bellaghy and time passed, I became more relaxed and had a sense that I was on sacred ground. I began to speak to Seamus and I told him my story. I shared my life’s journey so far, I told him about the ups and downs, the pains, struggles, disappointments, heartbreak, sickness, loneliness, moments of achievements, the happy times, about the people I had met on my journey. Here I was, speaking to a man who had passed on, a man of fame, whom I never met, I had never read his poetry or writings and yet, I was transformed in that moment of time. One line from Seamus Heaney’s poetry was enough to change my world forever. I could hear Seamus saying, “Francis do not be afraid, pick up a pen and paper and write your story”. I left that graveyard ‘walking on air,’ I could feel my blood boiling, the passion of my heart coming alive, and my mind creating a new story with a new beginning. The next day, ……………………against my better judgment, I purchased a journal ……………………against my better judgment, I started to put pen to paper …………………… against my better judgment, I began to record some events from my life …………………….against my better judgment, I said, ‘one day I will produce a book’ ……………………..against my better judgment, I wrote for forty days, poems and prose So, here I am, ‘walking on air, against my better judgment’.