It took almost 34 years to get here, but I made it to Ireland.
I’m going into this whole thing pretty ungrounded. It’s always been hard for me to conceive of traveling anywhere without a concrete *reason*, or as part of a structured program.
But this past May, following a Spring memorial service for my mom (see Prologue) I was hit with a feeling that I *had* to go to Ireland in August, for a month…
Mary (my mom’s friend) was sharing a story about when the two of them traveled to Ireland together a few years prior, and they’d brought the ashes of their parents to scatter. While on a tour, they ducked away to a hillside and conspicuously started to drop some ashes on the ground when a large gust of wind came in and blew the ashes everywhere. They proceeded to turn around and find that their tour group had been watching them from the top of the hill the whole time…
Since then I moved to a cottage in the “Lower Hudson Valley, New York” (Occupied Leni Lenape Territory); traveled to Minneapolis to help move Line Break (the media cooperative I’m part of) to a new office space; sort through the remaining belongings from my Mom and Grandparents (Chuck and Rose) with Zack (brother); pack what I’ll be keeping into a Uhaul; drive it across the country with my dad (David) to new the cottage; and proceeded to try to find a place for everything before taking off…to Ireland.
As the trip neared I began feeling more and more unnerved about it, somewhat disoriented about it, like I wasn’t supposed to be taking this much time for myself about it, and also nervous of what might be waiting for me about it.
Up until now I’ve avoided putting much meaning into the places that “my people” immigrated from – focusing moreso on my complicated feelings about my Americanness, my contemporary white maleness.
But after spending two days here, I *am* feeling *some* affirmation that this is a good place for me to be right now. I’m realizing I’ve been holding in a whole mess of grief just trying to keep up with life and keep everything together in general.
I’ve heard there are a lot of thin places here, “where the veil between this world and the eternal world is thin”, which…also feels complicated, but I can’t say I don’t feel like it’s possible I’m being led *somewhere* at this point in time. Part of me is like “forget all of that” and part of me is like “woo yes, let that mystical intuition take it from here!”
…It’s hard not being able to *talk* to my mom about all of this. The impulse to call on a whim hasn’t really gone away, and I want to tell her about all of the badass revolutionary women (and men) I’m learning about in Ireland’s history, and how I’m finally facing my fears of being “alone” and making decisions on my own. (and how grateful I am for keeping me around through all my bouts of separation anxiety in the early years)
I do have some of my mom’s ashes with me, however, and a month to see what this emerald isle is all about. So hopefully I don’t miss all of the thin places or intuitions about what to do *with* the ashes.
Anywho – I’ve posted a gallery below if you’d fancy a look at some moments from my first day. (Context in the captions)
Thanks for reading and for helping me get here 🙂