The wind is howling outside, whistling down the chimney and slightly unsettling the dog as he slumbers on the rug in front of the roaring fire. The girls are in bed and I am reading. The scent of my recently brewed coffee mixes with the fragrant smell of turf on the fire. Fatcat is sitting on the windowsill staring into the velvety blackness of the night. Does he see the canopy of stars overhead? The photographer is back in Dublin but will be joining us tomorrow for the weekend. The school bags and wellingtons are by the door, ready for the walk to school in the morning. I close the curtains to retain the heat before placing the guard in front of the fire and retiring to bed. As I lie in the bed the silence is thick, broken only by the faint roar of the waves in the distance. It’s 11pm.
11am next day and the sky is blue with puffs of cotton wool clouds scuttling across its huge expanse. I am at the table by the window, laptop open, my novel coming to life as my fingers dance across the keys. The dog is outside, exploring the landscape which is as yet not fully familiar to him. Through the window I can see the ocean and the coastline of Connemara. The ferry should be arriving about now down at the pier. In a couple of hours I will visit the local shop and purchase something for dinner tonight. The photographer will arrive by air late this afternoon. Its two weeks since he last visited and he will be staggered to hear how much Irish the girls have now learned.
3pm and the girls arrive home. I leave them to their homework and cycle down to the village shop. Dylan comes too – jogging along the road beside me. On the way I greet my neighbours as Gaeilge and stop for a chat with the teacher who is closing the school. She compliments me on my weekly column for the Irish Times. She says I am being very honest about my year of living on Inis Meain.
I haven’t worn make up all week and I probably should check that my hair dryer still works at some stage. It starts to rain… sideways. I am soaked by the time I arrive back home but invigorated by the energetic weather here.
10pm and we are once again gathered around the fire chatting about Christmas. For the first time in years we won’t see any family during the holidays but we are happy to embrace all aspects of this experimental year on the Aran Islands. Outside the wind is throwing handfuls of rain against the windows. The photographer has brought a lovely bottle of wine. We miss our Friday night take out… but all is well.
All of the above takes place in my head. I visit these scenes when I am out walking, in the bath or sometimes sitting in my car waiting for the girls to come out of school. There is something special in the air on the Aran Islands. Something which speaks to my soul, my very essence. It calls to me… faintly. I hear it and I dream of some day answering the siren call from the very edge of Europe. In the meantime I dream…. and sometimes just that is good enough.
Photo by horizons inesperats on Flickr
Day dreams are what I live for sometimes. If I looked out my window everyday and had your view, my day dreams would be romantic too! I have often thought if it was just me, a quiet island far far away from the hustle and bustle of life would suit me for at least part of the year.
Hi Barbara, I got disconnected from blogging for some months and and missed your move to the Aran Islands. I wish you well and admire your courage. I spent four summers in the Connemara Gaeltacht at Camus looking out at the islands, wondering what they might be like. Some years later I spent a wonderful Halloween ( nothing will prepare you for the fun and madness of an Aran Island Halloween) with my elder daughter on Aran Mor in Ard Einne. As always your blog is touching and evocative. I will try and keep in touch with the world of blogging despite my starting back at University after a gap of 35 years. Light and peace.! P
Oh my God Barbara,
What a fantastic piece of writing, wow. I really want to go back and visit the island again.
I would love to pack it all up and move to a small, unpopular craggy Island, with one pub, church, shop and a library.
Your dream is beautiful. It is exactly what I dream of! (Well, not with your family and pets, of course.)
I envy that you have half of my dream already – living in Ireland. I wrote about this longing 2 years ago yesterday, as a matter of fact. (http://tangledone.blogspot.com/2009/09/someday.html) It seems my longing gets stronger in September and October, and I have no idea why. But it's been heavy on my mind again, and now here's your beautiful writing – putting my own daydreams into words far more eloquently than I could have. It actually brought a tear as I saw it in your words.
Oh, someday to lie in bed at night listening to the distant waves of the Atlantic… What a dream!
Oh Mother Hen I really wish that was my view.. but it is in my head. Don't stop daydreaming..
Padraic – HELLO.. good to hear from you. Halloween on the Arans – wow there's an idea. I love Halloween (more than Christmas – is that a sin?) and my middle daughter was born on Halloween… oh I must try to spend Halloween there some time! Congrats on going back to college. Good Luck with that…
Michelle – we are daydreaming the same dream!
As is Tangled Mess – and autumn is the season of magic – that's way the pull is stonger… keep dreaming.. it might happen.
I loved this piece Barbara – absolutely beautiful writing:0