There are moments in our lives which live with us forever. They may seem insignificant as they happen, yet for some reason stay with us for a lifetime.
The same is true for places.
I grew up in Dublin, our capital city, yet, be it because of DNA or ‘moments,’ a large part of me will always be ‘country.’
Both my parents were born and reared in Donegal, a county of wild and untamed beauty in the north of Ireland. It was a place we returned to many times each year as children, to visit grandparents. Five of us and a dog, loaded into the back of a car, with not a seat belt between us. The journey close to five hours long, or to a child endless.
This week, for the first time in twenty seven years I will be returning to that childhood retreat, my mothers village, in the company of my mum, my cousin, and one if not two brothers.
I can’t begin to express how I feel as I count the days.
There are a million memories I cannot wait to recall, where the happiest of childhood days were spent. There are hills to be climbed where we once played endless games, streams to be splashed in, where we used to while away whole afternoons searching under rocks for eels, which not only did we never catch, but we never even saw, and shores to be walked, in search of crabs and jelly fish, which might or might not, once upon a time, have been used to chase my younger brother with.
I have a vivid memory of one afternoon going for a drive. As a child it was all about the destination, so we were oblivious to the beauty of the landscape. The sun was shining, in my memory, and my father stopped the car for a moment. My brother and I jumped up, thinking we were somewhere, only to hear my father say,
“Look around you. Can you see those mountains over there. Just look at the colours.”
Our reply, “Ye, ye, ye. Beautiful mountains. How long more?”
It was only a brief moment on a drive, yet, perhaps at least forty years later, it’s a moment I still recall and it makes me wonder; did such moments seep into our childhood subconscious? Did we photograph those mountains without knowing and store the pictures away, keeping them all these years until they became a part of who we are?
My Dad will unfortunately not be making the journey back with us, but I have no doubt, that as I look once more on the landscape which is so much a part of who I am, he will be very close by.
Perhaps, we might even hear his gentle voice, reminding us to take the time to look around and appreciate how lucky we are to be there.
I can’t wait…
Five more sleeps!