Whew, okay. Got that last post out of my system. Sorry about that; that was pretty rough. I swear that I am not having a perpetual pity party all the time.
This is the third day in my travels so far, at least, that I have insisted on beginning rather wretchedly, and which has ended with some sort of miraculous turnaround, no thanks to me. I should take the pattern to heart and learn yet another lesson: it’s not over until the fat lady sings. Er, patience is a virtue. How about trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding?
My heart gets tired pretty easily, so I spend time by myself, or reading my bible, or mostly, by emailing and talking to you. After a while, I’ve noticed, I eventually rise out of it, stand up and jut my chin, determined again to start walking until I meet life face to face. And generally, it goes great.
Today I left my hostel in search of the tiny arts center on this tiny island, resolved to see something cool, and listen to music, gosh darn it. On the way, I noticed a man down on the rocks by the water, cutting fish on a plank. The sun was beginning to set, and it was all terribly picturesque. I made up my mind to go talk to him, and see what was what.
Paddy greeted me warmly, and let me sit and watch him clean the fish he had caught earlier that day. He had taken out his kayak, a special one that you sit on top of, visited friends at the other island, and scored a dozen gorgeous fish. His knife work was quiet and exact, and we chatted about the specialness of the island, of the gold medals it had won for having the best practice of environmental management and community life in the world. He reluctantly submitted that he was the manager of the island, and proudly announced he would rather live no where else. He told me about the fish he caught, and how to clean them. He boasted of the stone masonry on the island, of all the people that come here to study it.
Basically, it was everything I could have ever wanted out of a trip to the Aran Islands. There, I did it. Something beautiful happened.
And then I went to the arts center and made friends with the woman there, and listened to music, and learned more about the culture here. After a walk and a sunset (and another of the world’s nicest horse), I went to the pub, got a Guinness, and was rescued from complete obscurity by an excellently wrinkled man with long hippie hair named Johnny. Johnny says the f word a lot, is both crude and gentlemanly, and plays the Irish drum like you wouldn’t believe. He kept cursing the other musicians who were playing in the group because they weren’t very good, and when, in an attempt for optimism, I asked him whether he’d rather play with poor musicians or not at all, he replied not at all. I was surprised, and then quickly realized that though I value positivity, I envied his passion. It’s like some sort of harsh purity, to love something so much that you’d prefer to abandon it than do it with mediocrity. I would like to feel this way about something. I’m not sure my modest life experiences thus far, and subsequently my philosophies have parameters for such extremes.
I read a book when I was a kid about a boy who adored chocolate. He loved it so much, that when some magical thing or another happened, he wished that he could eat chocolate all the time, and so it was. He tried to play the trumpet, but when he put it to his lips, it melted into dark brown oblivion. He became thirsty and drank from the water fountain, only to find syrup oozing down the drain. At the climax of the tale, a simple, well-intentioned kiss on the cheek turns his mother into a pillar of chocolate. I’m sure you can guess the moral. I could possibly be the biggest champion for moderation, but I am telling you in complete seriousness, I think I would find bliss if this story happened to me. I am convinced that any ailment of mine can and will be cured by chocolate, that happiness is found here, that chocolate brightens dark days and perfects already good ones.
I know that my questions will continue to follow me, and that I will continue to have dumpy days. But, I would like to say that I still know that what I’m doing is important, and that it is good. Be patient with me, because it has turned into something that none of us could have ever predicted. Something difficult and even more worthwhile. And duh, thanks forever, for being my squad.
Maybe it’s the Guinness, but if I didn’t have to, this might be the first place I would like to not leave so soon. I’m glad to feel this way, because that’s exactly the reason I came. I want to stand at the edge of the world and know that it is being held up, and that it is beautiful, beautiful.