Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Amazing Little Things

I have to admit that reentry hasn't been easy. One day back in Maine, and I already missed the sun (yeah, that famous Irish sun), the ocean out my front door, the sea cliffs and the wild fuchsia, the Medieval walls and cathedrals and castles, the brightly-painted stucco houses, the Guinness and the Murphy's and the Jameson's, the Bailey's on my breakfast porridge, the eggs with fried mushrooms and tomatoes, the blackcurrant sorbet, the rhubarb yogurt, the live music in every pub every night of the week, the Irish people with their lovely Irish accents and blue Irish eyes, the curlews and gulls singing in the mudflats, all the crazy corvids (rook, hooded crow, raven, magpie), the sheep-dotted hillsides, the double-decker buses, and the horizon. Oh, the horizon.

Sunday morning, I stepped outside to escape bickering children, children who no doubt needed my attention, after my 11-day absence, but were going about getting it in a way guaranteed to make me not want to be around them. I spied a ripe berry on one of the many raspberry bushes that take over any spot on our land not shaded out by evergreen trees, but which rarely give up any fruit. While I savored my berry, I noticed this tiny gray tree frog on a leaf (gray tree frogs start out life green).

When I call ed C over to look, he spied this even tinier peeper.

And a few leaves away, I saw this Katydid.

And a little bluet drinking nectar from a nearby vetch.

Camera in hand, I walked slowly up the driveway, eyes open for little things.

The things we normally pass by in our hurry to get on with our days.

Meanwhile, all kinds of life is busy getting on with its days, in a "summer is short" kind of way.

Well, it's not a week in Ireland, but it's all still pretty amazing.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Postcards from Ireland, Days 8, 9, and 10

These are going to be like those postcards people send you after they get home, that don't even have stamps or postmarks from the place they visited.

The internet service at our guesthouse, while never terribly reliable, was all but useless our last few days (next time you read an article about how much better broadband is in Europe than in the US, don't believe it). 

Also, I needed to make sure I got my pub quota in before I left.

On our last day in Dingle, two of my friends and I decided we'd try to get to a tower we could see on top of a hill across the harbor from our guesthouse.

No one seemed to know what the tower was, or how far away, but undeterred, we set off on foot, braving the very fast cars on the very narrow roads lined with very prickly blackberry and stinging nettle brambles.
Once we got off the main road, we had very few cars to worry about, and enjoyed the farms and the witchy little houses we passed by.

We had a time limit. I had planned to meet my travel companion at 2:00, so that we could be sure to make our 4:00 bus to Shannon.

By the time we reached the base of the "trail" (really just a climb straight up the hill along an old stone wall), it was almost time to turn around.

But having got that far, we couldn't go back without seeing the tower up close.

So we scrambled up the hill and saw the tower (a navigation aid built in the 18th century) up close, along with its entourage of sheep.

And were rewarded with the view from the other side, Where the earth dropped away over sheer cliffs to the water below.

 We spent a little time enjoying the view, then power-walked (to the tune of "Christmas in Kilarny") back to town, arriving only half an hour late. Erin and I caught our bus and made our way to Shannon Airport and back home.

 Arriving in Logan Airport on a drizzly afternoon and waiting for a bus that would trundle me through the ugly sprawl and Friday afternoon traffic of outer Boston was quite possibly the most depressing way to end a wonderful vacation. A friend of mine asked if it was relaxing, and I paused a moment because, while not restful--we were going every minute from 7 a.m. until midnight or later--it was relaxing. I never had a single moment of anxiety the entire ten days. Maybe it was the sunshine (yes, I had to go to Ireland to get a tan this summer), or maybe it was the freedom from responsibility for anyone but myself, or maybe it was the beer, but yes, it was very relaxing. I'm homesick for it already.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Postcards from Ireland, Day 7: Great Blasket Island

Today we had our first bit of Irish weather--foggy and misty, which is the most fitting weather, I think, for a trip out to Great Blasket Island.

Postcards from Ireland, Day 6: Ventry Beach

I finally found my way to a swim today.

I love the way the beach is part of the community, with the village off to one side, farms all around and a caravan park just over the dunes.

The water's just a scotche warmer than the water in Maine before I left.

I love that there are kids everywhere (maybe because it's a tourist town and people are on holiday?), even in the pubs, and out late into the evening because it stays light out so late (I might love it less if they were my kids). The parents all seem so gentle and patient (again, maybe the vacation effect), and with their Irish blue eyes and sweet little Irish accents, so, so cute.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Postcards from Ireland, Day 5: Dingle Buildings

Almost every cottage and shop here is brightly painted or trimmed in some way. I can imagine all the color works like therapy when the weather is not so unseasonably warm and sunny like it has been all week. I want to paint my front door purple the minute I get home!

Las night we had the most amazing reading by Kevin Barry. I urge you to go out and get the audiobook of City of Bohane (read by the author himself) right away.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Postcards from Ireland, Day 4: Dingle by Morning Light

I fully intended to go for a swim across the harbor early this morning.

But it wasn't until I stepped outside my guesthouse that I realized, oh, yeah, they have low tide on this side of the Atlantic as well.

So I just went for a walk instead (that pink building in the middle is where I'm staying).

(I still can't get over the palm trees here. Also, they make me think of the migrate-ory patterns of African swallows.)

This may not have been that great of a swimming spot anyway. I hope to get to at least one good beach while I'm here.

I can't think of too many more glorious things than waking up in the morning and taking a stroll in the sunshine along the ocean (even if it is low tide). Can you?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Postcards from Ireland, Day 3: Dingle

The view from the patio outside my room.

Impromptu serenade/singalong at music shop below pizza place

Sunset boat ride.


Yes, it's really me here.

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