Let me just tell you, I can’t believe I’m here, last week of September, cycling at high speed down country roads with random insects hitting me in the face, sun still shining. It’s like nature is being extra kind and giving just a few more weeks of summer before it gets dark at 4pm. The leaves are starting to coat the ground and it’s been foggy, but we have had some fantastic days lately.
Being at home in the country is fantastic, and coming to Ireland for these few weeks (maybe months, if I ever get a driving test date finalised) has, so far, been an excellent decision. I’ve been spending a lot of time on the roads because I want to get fitter to try and do a triathlon in a few months. I’ve been out walking and jogging every day.
When I was younger I hated the countryside. I thought it was so boring to be surrounded by fields and trees, I just wanted to live in a town or city and actually be able to walk to friends’ houses. I wanted to socialise and be around people, not cows. I itched to be saturated in the feelings of urban things; paper coffee cups and take-out sandwiches, department stores and cobbled streets and city buses. Then I started spending time in cities, living in apartments and taking those city buses, and let me tell you, their quality varies hugely depending on their final destination. I’d walk around the most crowded parts of cities and let the feeling of being surrounded by people wash over me. I felt at home.
In the past year, though, something changed, and now I don’t want to be in cities anymore. Fumes, traffic, crowded streets, endless shops, endless streams of people, none of these things excite me. I want to get away from people, faceless, nameless numbers. I want to work on my existing relationships and be surrounded by positivity, not sit pressed against a stranger on the Tube. I want green fields and dusk on country roads and fresh air. Maybe it’s a natural progression of growing up (finally), maybe it’s the fact that the guy I spend most of my time with is highly cynical of all things commercial. Maybe I’m just realising what’s really important in life, and it isn’t what you get in a Penneys’ bag for €3.
Yesterday I was cycling around the block, and it was a gorgeous day, and I just felt so, alive, you know? One of those rare moments when you know you feel so good that you know it’s special, and won’t come again for a time. Everything was perfect. It was about 15 degrees, no wind, I was cycling downhill, 5.30pm and the sun was just setting off towards the western corner of the sky. I saw a group of pheasants rushing down a field lane, flocks of birds hovering above a freshly ploughed field, cut grass smell, country manure smell, cabbages and potatoes and rows of green fields. I saw horses, cows, neighbourhood dogs in varying sizes and temperaments, mostly verging on cranky and territorial.
It was fantastic, and I’m so lucky to be here, living at all. There’s been a bit of bad news in the last couple of weeks, and maybe I’m just sentimental because of it, but I really feel so glad to be here. In a world that is so random and, at times, just so senselessly cruel, that I am here, with so many good things, well I just feel very lucky indeed.
I have no nice pictures today, just plenty of good wishes. Slán go fóill!