My last post was at summer’s end. And a magical summer it was... four months on the River Suir, making new friends, learning new skills and indulging my obsession with traditional Irish music. Of course, the best part of emerging from the restrictive cocoon of youth and fluttering about in the breezes of middle age is you learn to reflect... and you actually have quite a lot to reflect on. This past summer, the River Suir was my magic mirror.
When I left Ireland in August, I was pondering the significance of dreams... dreams that get crushed or slowly fade out of mind... and dreams that pop out of nowhere when we least expect them and march before us like champions with an Olympic torch, beckoning us to follow if we dare.
Dreams can be like piñates, you know. We often swing at them blindfolded, thinking if we get real lucky, joy and fulfillment will come bursting out on top of us. But more often than not, they creep up from behind and knock US with the piñata bat, making our heads spin and sending us places we never thought we’d go.
I came back to Ireland for Christmas… and to spend time with a certain someone who seemed to have gotten himself all tangled up in my world of dreams. I thought it might be one of those piñata-bat-from-behind situations… one of those ”when you least expect it” crossroads in life that you dare not wish away. And I was not disappointed. (That’s all I’m going to say!)
I’d been here only a few days when I got a call from home that my mother, age 91, had fallen (for a second time), resulting in a compression fracture of her spine. It felt like waking from a beautiful, peaceful sleep with someone splashing ice water on me and slapping me silly. I think I’ve written before that life has a way of jumping out of the bushes and shouting BOO! It startles us for a moment then we recognize it and just snarl.
I am so grateful I got to spend Christmas Day with him and his family, enjoying Irish cuisine and hospitality… then the long flight home and six weeks of care-sharing in Georgia with my brother and his wife. My mother is recovering comfortably and I got back to Ireland on Valentine’s Day. It will be back and forth for the near future I’m afraid. I really want to be both places.
In the mean time I am driving on the left side using a manual transmission, trying new recipes, fiddling new tunes, keeping a turf fire burning. But more than that, I am learning (I should say “continuing to learn”) the benefits of patience, of living in the present, of appreciating the gift of being loved and needed (in TWO countries!) and not taking a single moment for granted.
The weather lady says the “Beast from the East” is heading our way. That’s what they’re calling a winter blizzard that will be howling through later this week from somewhere like Siberia and lashing Ireland with extraordinary beauty and unavoidable calamity. That's life! I’m ready!