This much I want to remember: The feeling of the sun on my back as I leaned over the stones on the Quiet Man's bridge on my first car ride out into the wilderness of Ireland.
There was a small brown sign that said "Quiet Man Bridge" and so I turned around and went back to see what it was. It was just a small stone bridge over a waterway but there was a picture of John Wayne standing on the bridge and I figured I'd have to watch this movie when I returned home. The birds were singing so loudly and lovely. I noticed the song with new ears, as if I had never heard birds sing before.
Back home perhaps I would have thought them slightly endearing or mostly annoying but these birds and their song were so lovely as the sun warmed my back and I could hear Mumford and Sons playing from the car radio with the right hand door open to the drivers side.
I was asking myself if I was happy?
And I decided that I must be, because, I wasn't looking forward to anything, and also that I had better be because nothing much more wonderful was likely to happen. Both were unfamiliar feelings for someone who had spent much of her life suspended in the present and longing for the future- for the evening, the weekend, the holiday, the letter in the post- that would make all the good things come true.
"Another Life Again" - Viney
This much I want to remember: driving down the dirt lane with the sparrows racing out in front of me, gliding, fluttering up and down in smooth wide motions, making my heart sing. In Ireland there is a penetrating smell of grass or hay or flowers, I'm not sure what it is, but I don't have words for the sweetness of the experience of being consumed by this smell.
The wild yellow irises are abundant and ubiquitous in the green fields, and they make me want to write poetry.
I see a million images I want to capture, but there's nowhere to pull off to the side of the road on these crazy dangerous roads. I think how amazing it is to experience what life was like not so long ago in the Unites States, before our roads became so wide and long. Now all roads lead to ambition in the United States.
Perhaps this has become the plight of the American dream, that nothing is ever good enough? We must always leave in seek of something better, only to find that we've outdone even ourselves, time and time again, and now that we've got everything, we feel nothing inside?
Sitting at a pub, recommended by the girl at the gas station that pumped my gas, because I couldn't figure out how to open the gas tank… The lady that came out of the kitchen that I bumped into upon entering the pub, that I asked if I could take a seat in the corner, she said yes, sit anywhere you like and I piled my belongings on a tiny corner table next to a family speaking in dialect eating salmon and mash.
I don't know what I was expecting, but this place was not what I was expecting. Small and family cozy dining with the tiny bar that had gents sitting with beers and talking again in a way that I wasn't sure what language they were speaking.
I looked up at the walls surrounding me, covered with old newspaper articles, postcards, and yellowed older things, there she was, the older plump lady that I bumped into and who served me my Jameson on the rocks, there she was laminated on the wall.
The article described her as the 4th generation owner of the pub, she'd been in nursing school when the family and the local town had hit hard times and the family was going to sell the pub, she returned home to take over, not wanting the family to sell. She was quoted in the newspaper as saying she'd learned latin and "other nonsense" at school, but returning home and saving the family business was the best education she'd received.
An hour later I noticed another piece of framed paper above the laminated article.
This is to certify Miss Adrienne hereby climbed Mount Kilimanjaro.
There she was, the plump older lady, whom I had bumped into and who had served me my Jameson on the rocks and seafood chowder, at the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. Woah. What a lady.
I'm reminded of the millions of possibilities of this life time, of existence, of the true essence of being alive and what's possible for us. This is to certify that: small town does not equate a small mind, nor does it equal small impact on the world.
On my journey through Ireland, I love noticing that a certain song can inspire me to write… all I have to hear is a few notes and thoughts pop up like a math equation, play these notes, inspiration comes to write. What is that? and why can't I reproduce it? I ponder, is that pure inspiration?
I secretly admit to myself that my all weather hiking pants and orange Northface fleece have become my favorite outfit of all time because they symbolize a major turning point in my life and represent the time that I decided to listen to my heart's calling and I followed through on a crazy idea that changed the course of my life forever and I am now eternally grateful for all the healing and happiness I have experienced because I listened.
At the time, the investment in outdoor gear to go to the arctic circle in Norway felt out of character for me and I would never have guessed that I would wear this outfit time and time again in many different countries and it would become one of my favorite outfits of all time, surpassing any of my beloved high heels and fancy dresses.
Driving on the left side of the road through mountainous country on tiny winding roads, next to sea cliffs and wiping sea foam from the windshield, sitting next to a cow patty in a 3000 year old stone circle, climbing to the top of the mountain behind the stone bothy on the sheep farm, lighting a fire in the fireplace while enjoying some fresh Irish cheese and soda bread for dinner...
I was asking myself if I was happy?
And I figured I must be, because I wasn't longing for anything or mulling over the past.
I am ok. I am full. I am whole. and Yes, I am happy.
What is for you will not pass you by. If you pause long enough to listen to your heart, you may realize that you've always known who you are.
I had to go out into the world to seek myself, to find myself, and only in that search did I realize that the person, the experience, the thing I was seeking all along, was me.