Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The First Week

I had said I wouldn’t blog this summer in Ireland, just journal my days away in private and save the publishing for another time when I could put it all together and develop more purpose or theme. But alas, I’ve been here less than a week and I have so much to share with you, my friends and family. You, who walk alongside me, catching me when I clumsily trip over my own thoughts and emotions and nudging me forward when I get too lazy to have any. If you missed last summer’s musings, you can find them at dearestireland.blogspot.com. I think there were thirteen postings, written as letters to Ireland, that expressed my impressions and feelings of what I experienced as I took a risky, but exciting side road on my spiritual journey and discovered that sometimes the scenic route is the best.

A river runs through it
So, if you’re an interested party, you can follow me here at Suirly Goodness about once a week. The title isn’t a typo, but a reference to the River Suir (pronounced “sure”) which runs through town and which I intend to walk along for daily exercise of both heart and “heart”. If you haven’t been to church lately, you may have forgotten the 23rd Psalm which concludes with, “Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life…” King David believed that and so do I.

The night before I left home I had a crisis of faith. Not faith in God, but faith in myself to be an independent traveler, in a foreign country where there are so many unknowns. If you read my other blogs in the past, you know this sounds familiar. But things like health coverage, transportation (I’m still an adamant “NO” to driving here), housing, etc. all gave me a touch of traveler’s remorse, even before I left home. I wondered if I changed my mind at the last minute at the United Airlines gate, would they drag me on board anyway, kicking and screaming, because I’d bought a ticket and reserved my seat. 

Blanket of bluebells
I’m happy to report that the affirmation I felt when I first made my plans was not misleading. All is better than good….amazing really (Okay, I’ve used the worn out word “amazing”, so it’s taboo for the rest of the blog). I’d not met Linda and her young daughter, my hosts for the summer. My mother, of course, had to remind me that I really didn’t know anything about Linda and she could be a drug addict or a thug or something worse. And what in the world would I do without a car, just sit around all day? Gotta love a protective Momma.

A wild orchid asserts itself
Variety of wildflowers

Linda and Sarah are amazing! (Oh No! I didn’t just do that!) We seem extremely compatible to be perfect strangers. I did know Linda’s mother, Margaret, though, so it’s not surprising Linda is a non-thug. And what’s with Irish children all (and I literally mean ALL that I have met) being as adorable as kittens and refreshingly unbrat-like. Having taught school for 34 years, I think we could learn something here.

Ireland’s summer magic has already begun to take hold and cast its disarming spell on me once again. On Friday, I went hiking through, as my friend Joe described it from the photos, “a beautiful, diaphanous sylvan glade” (I should get Joe to write my blog). If I’d had any doubts about why I came back to Ireland, they faded like the sunlight as we made our way down the banks of sparkling bluebells to the calming streams and misty waterfalls below. Unfortunately, I’ve taken too few opportunities to stay in cardio shape this year. Walking back UP, I stopped every few steps to comment on the beautiful, diaphanous aura of the place and feign meditation. I was really trying to catch my breath without appearing old and out of shape (It’s the truth, Margaret). We’d like to go back, but they say the bluebells, like the tender maidens in the best Irish ballads, only bloom for a short season. Maybe next year.

Coziest spot in the pub
You KNOW I’ve been fiddling. The pub was just as I remembered. My favorite spot to sit was waiting for me and I relished every minute. Not just playing, but seeing my old friends and meeting some new. There are two trad sessions each week in separate pubs, both a short walk from where I’m staying. And a third just a few miles away. Someone is loaning me a guitar for the summer so I should be all set. It’s in God’s hands. It always was. Wish me well and come along for the ride. Even though Ireland is a small country, there's plenty of room for us all.


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  2. I knew it, Kim! That you'd return to Hibernia and feel compelled to write about it, again. We'll all be grateful for that, in the coming months. Looking forward to reading about your exploits. Hope your galoshes were waiting for you, when you arrived.