I just returned from a seven-day tour of Ireland, which was fantastic. I'd lived in England for three years, but never realized how different Ireland is...I found it enchanting. And thus, here follows, my Letter to Ireland:
LETTER TO IRELAND
I walked upon your shores for one week, no more, breathing in your green melodies (such a harmonic range of green, each tone a meticulously crafted capture of rain-spun air), stepping upon earth soaked with the same water that sails through the vessels hidden just beneath my skin, believing in the fairies that inhabit small apartments of bark in fairy-tale old oaks, accessible only through tiny brightly-painted doors.
Yet my stay upon your island feels much longer than seven days; time is a long-standing song that fades away in the reality of the present, and will then suddenly reappear to declare, I am here.
And yet I know there is no time. What else have you shown me Ireland, as I wandered through the grounds of a sixth-century monastery, and then embraced an eight-century Celtic cross? What is time—much less space--when I am only seconds away from being swept into harrowingly hungry wind that will never long to know my name, its only true desire to show me my jeweled insignificance?
You have also shown me this: the only language worth learning is spoken in water. The only runes worth studying are those carved of rain. Seventy percent of my being is water, and what else but fog---the steady dance of condensed water-drops---can make the grand Atlantic, disappear?
Much like my father, lost behind the veil separating worlds. But oh, how I felt him in your songs, Ireland, in your determination to drench the world in ephemeral, fluid, music—the rhythmically beating heart, of joy.
And so, Ireland, you have not simply asked me to dream, not simply reminded me to dream, but indeed have demanded me to dream. In the fragile space of seven days I have seen so many astonishingly beautiful births, of the earth: a vibrant horse with a heavenly mane, a swan bearing a silvery name—she was so majestic I know she was the vehicle of Saraswati, the gently wise, wildly intelligent Hindu goddess of creativity. And the earth laughs as well----oh, how she laughs--through miniature horses, irritable ponies, the intense focus of a border collie, on duty. And then there are the hooting owls, hundreds of cows, so many sheep I must be asleep---but indeed I am not lost in a dream, but rather am completely, daringly, awake.
As you must know, only someone who has mastered suffering can command another to dream—for a master by definition is resilient. And you are resilient, Ireland, after years and years of suffering—winds lash you and storms love you because you simply will not give in, nor give up.
Your rivers flow black during gales, as black as the ink upon old texts, upon tossed-away sheets of creators refusing to stop creating. My only difference with you, Ireland? I hardly take alcohol. My only drink is mixed of the thoughts created, then released, by ink. You should understand—your entire island, is a scriptorium.
And so, to the land whose heart is nothing less than a harp, to the island veiled in the most musical—and monastic—of mists, I now bid you farewell, with an emerald kiss…
Until we meet again.
After writing this I realized I didn't mention any Irish people! I actually didn't meet very many, as I was on a tour. But the ones I met were mostly grand (an Irish expression I love!)--a particularly proud-of-his-city Dublin cabbie named Roderick especially stands out in my mind.