….on moving to Ireland!

I’ve been here over a year now and that seems very strange. To be honest, I never thought I would stay on past the one year mark. I always, kinda-sorta, thought we would have a fun year of it and then I would go back to my “life”. Maybe that thinking was a byproduct of my intention to have an adventure. To say YES to life, and suck the marrow from it. What came next didn’t enter the equation. Strange, isn’t it? But here I am, one year and one month later, settled into a little stone house in Cork.

The transition was, and continues to be, harder than I anticipated. I am fairly aware of my unique personality foibles and am keenly aware of my introversion; a trait that makes me slow to warm-up, socially awkward at best, and a hermit at worst. Especially when my home reflects my personality…and feels good. Our house here in east Cork is delicious! I can not say enough about the land around here. It’s more than views and picturesque countryside. This land has clearly been cherished for millenia. And, OMG – it is soooo much better than living in purgatory! (Snark Alert: after effects of housing estate living still in operation)

But my isolationist tendencies are getting old. I’m finally feeling ready to put myself out there. It is amazing to me that it took so long, but I am glad I was gentle with myself and honored my own rhythms. In fact, rhythms have been on my mind a fair bit lately. We are approaching winter here and I can feel the retreat of the light. I never experienced seasonal affective disorder before moving here. There’s plenty of sun all year in Texas, in fact she often tries to fry us up in the summer! The weekend of the Folk Festival I really felt it.

It had been gray and rainy for a few days. I was stuck inside writing papers. We enjoyed our Saturday morning at the farmers market as usual, but by the evening I was feeling weepy. The next day was the Ceili Mor in Cork City, which we had planned to see. (notice, I said “see”. I wasn’t planning to dance!) It was still drizzly and overcast but the music was lively! The dancers seemed to be having such fun. An elderly couple caught my eye. They danced almost every song and looked like they were designed for each other. He was short, with a steady, constant gaze. He wore a tweed soft cap. She was just as short and looked out with the same content gaze. They moved like a single drop of water in the ocean of dancers. Serene. Knowing.

At some point in the afternoon I started thinking about my own grandparents, and how many of the traditions they grew up with are lost. I thought of all the generations that came before them. The generations upon whose shoulders I stand…and how many of their traditions are lost. I got weepy all over again! About this time the last song was being called. The Siege of Ennis. The caller was encouraging everyone who hadn’t danced yet to come out… and what happened? Himself drug me out! I could barely remember the steps… side, side, side, back, side, side, forward, twirl, through… (I think).

We came home to a hill engulfed in thick mist. The world was white water vapor and I felt a magnetic pull, in my melancholy, to walk out into it. Like someone drawn, I blindly put away my purse and coat, then disappeared. He said I was gone for hours. I went directly to the gentle place behind our house…to the Fairy Fort. The forts are remains of lios (hillforts) that possibly date to the iron age. Out of respect, and not wishing to tempt fate, farmers leave them untouched (also, they are usually protected by the heritage trust). The one near us is named for a badger, but has fox and rabbit burrows…and is lined with blackthorn. I found one, dripping with moisture, and sat quietly on the ground at its base. The sadness that was building crescendoed. In the peaceful surround of the fort, I wondered whether I could simply stay for a thousand years.

The next day I was a BEAR. I wanted to hibernate. To not be looked at. Content to sit by the fire, I stay wrapped in a blanket reading all day. S.A.D. seemed to be in full effect. Then just as suddenly, when morning dawned sunny and bright… joy sprang eternal. Thankfully I harvested St. John’s Wort this year! With the season moving ever deeper, I am conscious of wanting to remain in balance. To honor the rhythm of the movement of the sun and the chemical cascade that is already moving in my body.

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