Forty Shades of Green
My father always loved the color green. He said it was calming. Well, if that was true I know without a doubt that he will be at true peace on the Emerald Isle because Ireland is unbelievably green.
You see it in every direction and every shade imaginable here. There have to be forty shades of green here and they all seem just a bit different.
The fields are Kelly green. It is a little more yellow and a lot more vibrant than anything I've ever seen in Nevada or California or even Oregon for that matter. But add to it the climbing vines, the moss on rocks and the brownish-green of the bushes that mark the lines of ownership here and you have a completely different palette. An Irish palette.
Sure it rains here. But far more often it mists. That keeps the fields here moist and lush. On the radio they described it as, "Bits of mist interrupted by patches of sunshine," and I'd say they nailed it.
While Dublin is indeed a fine metropolitan city, it's not the Ireland I came here to see, nor the one my father loved so much. So after a few rounds of Dan Dooley's parking lot in a rental car to brush up on driving stick-shift, to adjust to shifting with my left hand and to driving on the left-hand side of the road, we headed for the rurals. Not fifteen miles from town we found the stunning patchwork of fields and livestock I'd always imagined.
The property lines are marked with shrubbery in the east and turn to stacked stone in the west. I was told they just use whatever resource they have on hand. They make for precise lines of ownership, yet the overall checkerboard on the hillside is a freeform patchwork and every fence has it's own individual beauty.
Everything here is on a laid back timetable compared to the endless frenzy of life in the states. Perhaps my father sensed that as well on his visits here. I'd like to think so.
On roads so narrow two cars could sometimes hardly pass we figured out that Ireland is a live and let live state. If you need the roadway, take it. If another car does, pull over and let them pass. Stay to the left, go with the flow of the roundabouts and yield to pedestrians every time because there are hardly any crosswalks anywhere.
The zigging and zagging in towns where streets only allowed for one way of traffic at a time, became habit. There are beautiful ruins in the background, ornate churches everywhere and quaint bridges around every turn.
"So how do we know when we're headed and where to leave the ashes?" my sister-in-law and traveling companion asked. "I'm not sure," I replied. "But I do think we'll know when we get there. Sometimes things and places seem to speak to you. At least they speak to me."
And we drove on.