By Tara Davis
The students swarmed the roadside quarry like a midges storm. It was a fine morning and the search was on for vertical stone. As Corey (Manno) drove the pickaxe into the eroded hillside, all eyes pierced through the rubble to find right angle edged building blocks. When one of the students (Laura) asked one of the construction team members (Joe) if the rock’s surrounding dirt formed the rocks, he responded, “no, magic”.
Our teams divided into names: Vicious Vikings, Precious Pudding, and Mighty Fairies. As a Mighty Fairy I can personally attest to the renaming of our team to the Fearless Fighting Fairies upon scuffles with the Vicious Vikings over our land (they usurped our work site) and relics (they stole our most valuable stone). As we watched the Vicious Vikings’s wall build up as our wall frequently gave way to gravity, my sense of pride intensified.There, amongst the rolling, rocky, steep hills peppered with sheep, I acknowledged that I come from a culture of honor. As Malcolm Gladwell elucidates in Outliers, the northern borderlands of Ireland consisted of clannish herdsmen “scraping out a living on rocky and infertile land” whilst responding to the harshness and turmoil of their environment by forming tight family bonds and “placing loyalty to blood above all else”. The final last words today to the Vicious Vikings are as follows: you may have our land and relics, but the Fearless Fighting Fairies have only become better-skilled fairies as vertical is harder than horizontal.