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Texas, your fierce blood in my veins burns like the August sun.
Flesh of granite lime stone particles.
Spanish Oak hair drifts in the biting North Wind.
My body is your body. You travel the world and through my touch, you are. Where my foot falls, you stand.
The eyes that strangers feel gazing upon them in steady unwavering focus are yours. In Me, they meet You.

My Grandfather silently encourages, “remember the stock you come from. Barry and Sawyer.”

Bone and Blood from other Land ground and spilled with Texas. She embraced them. Kissed their tears and tore at their hearts.

Texas, My Texas
all hail the mighty State!

Austin, Texas …. y’all

the prairie grasses and other plants transport me. I am in the Texas of past centuries. the strong blocks of Texas limestone gleam creamy.

this gem of my ‘hood is undergoing renovation. I approve.

The world chirps…
and whispers.
Rooster crows, little bird sings.
Branches bare against a soft white world,
enveloped in thick sea fog
dancing
mushrooms spring to life out of thick damp moss

Enchantment

This is the word dancing into thought.
Fern, moss, stone, green all round.
POPping its brilliance in a changing light.

Living here in Cork is like a perpetual holiday for me. At least in some ways. My immediate world is idyllic; lush hillside crisscrossed with rows of majestic hardwood trees (remnants of the abandoned Demesne), quiet little laneway where all the neighbors know each other, and a wonderful weekly farmers market to shop for locally produced food. I’m also fortunate that equal income contribution has not yet been a frantic need. I am well aware of the burden of financial stress and the toll it takes on emotional well being. This sense of plenty has contributed greatly to my enjoyment of life. I am truly able to breathe it in. To lounge in it…. taking my morning cup of tea into the front garden to gaze out over the vale. To relish time out of time when no time matters and walks down the lane to visit Milly’s groovy cows is whenever the mood strikes.

Ireland is a land of relaxed attitudes and a take-it-as-it-comes vibe. This sounds wonderful, and it is…. sometimes. Years ago I stood behind the yellow line at the baggage carousel at Shannon Airport. I noticed several things. Everyone actually stayed behind the line. Nobody stood huffing and puffing as they restlessly paced or checked their watch. These were significant to me, coming from America; home of “I want it, and I want it NOW!” I purposed then and there to live in Ireland some day, if for no other reason than to learn this life lesson. Patience. Contentment. Acceptance.

Now that I live here I have come to see the shadow side of that easy going attitude. When Himself started his business he first needed to register his company with the Companies Registration Office, which took approximately 2 weeks. He then needed to acquire a VAT (Value Added Tax) number, which took an additional 3 weeks. After which he needed to open a business account at the bank, which took an amazing 6 weeks! He opted for AIB (Allied Irish Bank) because their small business package seemed robust. This was before he knew all paperwork had to be sent to Dublin for review and processing, that the local branch would repeatedly lose documents, and that photocopies of a director’s identification (done at an AIB branch in Donegal) would need to be redone THREE times for quality issues. After this was completed, He still needed secure mail delivery (his business requires this) and professional insurance. By this time you know what I’m going to say. Insurance required repeated phone calls to chase up information and in the end took 3 weeks to acquire, but the secure mail delivery is a peach of an example….

The secure service is housed within a local business and is basically a row of locked boxes, behind a locked door, that only clients have access to. Deliveries are made daily to these locations throughout the country. Himself had several clients waiting for his secure service to be established so they could send him work. He rang the office, which of course is located in Dublin, to order a box in our market town. They gave him cost information and said they would send someone down with the next daily delivery to set his box up. A few days passed, so he rang to chase it up. “Oh, sorry about that. I meant to ring. The driver said there are no more boxes so we are sending down a new row of boxes to be installed.” A few more days pass, and he rings again to chase it up. “Oh, sorry about that. I meant to ring. The driver said there isn’t any room to install more boxes. Are you sure you want it in that town? We could set you up in….” Ok! He agrees to the new location because he has business waiting on this detail. A few days pass, and he rings to chase it up. “Oh, sorry about that. I meant to ring. We left your key in the box but we realized we don’t have any more keys to the outside door. We are going to ring the owner of the building to see if he has any ….” After 3 weeks, he had his secure mail box set-up.

The detail in all of these mishaps, missteps, and comical occurrences that struck both of us was that in most of these situations nobody really wanted to take responsibility. The person at the bank who he originally dealt with did not follow-up when a new piece of information was needed. Nobody seemed to have ownership of his file, ensuring documents were correct and accounted for. With the secure mail boxes the driver who took the box door down originally clearly didn’t feel it was his responsibility to inform the main office that there wasn’t any room to install more boxes, just that his small task (to install a door on an existing box) was impossible, as there wasn’t a box currently available.

Perhaps the patience was really complacency? I’m not willing to pass that judgement. I haven’t lived here nearly long enough to understand this culture, or its complex people. After all, even Freud famously said of them,

“This is one race of people for whom psychoanalysis is of no use whatsoever.”

What I do know… is that the Irish are a people eager to laugh, thirsty for life, and ready with a witty remark. Stopping to talk to your neighbor still happens here, in fact its a regular occurrence! When the little Big and I went hiking in Killarney (that story is yet to come, and be sure, it was a scary time as the bucks were rutting!) each person we passed on the trail was ready with a smile, a wave and a warm “hello”. When I walk down our lane the neighbors greet me. When you run into someone on the street, they stop to talk. When I met Mr MacCarthy (who owns the Field…behind the house), he was ready to ‘chew the cud’, as they used to say back home. This sort of communication is rare in the US, at least from my experience. In the States people tend to isolate themselves and prefer to hurry past you without taking time to catch up. I appreciate this about living here. Even if I do struggle at it and need to keep rehearsed a list of appropriate topics of conversation!

Oh, another thing…the FOOD!! Specifically the meat and dairy. Oh, sweet baby jesus, but does Ireland ever produce some delicious delicacies of gastronomic delight! The variety of local fruit and veg may be limited due to climate, but what IS grown here is scrumptious!

In some ways life in Ireland is like stepping back a few decades, but not in a condescending “you cute ignorant peasant” sort of way. I realize I come from a world view of privilege and that the “quaint Paddy” still holds a romantic pull for me, but there *is* a simpler thread here weaving itself into the pleasures of life. Even if that thread sometimes threatens to curl up around the neck of your best laid plans ….

Ah, but sure…isn’t that just the way. And what’s it all about anyway if we can’t laugh about it. 😉

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