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Home from Ireland
Here I am sitting at desk and computer for the first time in 3 weeks, email box full of shrill warnings that I am "over quota" — too many unread emails — the machine wondering where I could have gone.
My desk is full of the results of our journey through Ireland — books, cameras filled with photos, road maps, trip diary, lots of little papers for that scrapbook I promise to make. Jim is pondering how to get a money order in euros so we can pay a €40 parking ticket we got in Galway — who could have guessed that Irish parking is actually subject to rules? My brain is still 5 hours off-kilter.
Ireland was a magical mystery tour and proof that life in the slow lane can be very intense indeed, especially if the slow lane has no shoulder. Or if the slow lane looks like it has a shoulder but that shoulder turns out to be bog and your front wheels are gripped in its embrace.
Ireland was really all about embraces: An emotional rush of hugs from family I've never met but always knew. Hugging the road. And trying to get your arms around all the philosophical spiritual mystical questions that Irish history and landscape present.
It's easiest to start with the road. I thought my issue would be driving on the left. No problem. What I wasn't prepared for was the need to think about driving as a two-person athletic event — a road rally with misleading maps and signage designed by folks who spend too much time in pubs and who love to be asked directions so they can have a conversation about your family. Not to mention roadways fashioned after Celtic knots and intersections exalting the Celtic cross.
We got the hang of it. I drove. Jim was the map man. Lost only one hub cap. I knew we reached the Zen calm of an Irish road team when we faced down a bus on a one-lane mountain pass and without panic honed in on the only possible hint of a shoulder to let the bus go by. Big thumbs up from the bus driver.
Unlike a road rally, the point of Irish driving seems to be to get lost. To let the road take you under its spell and lead you somewhere unexpected.
Enough for today...
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