10 January 2009
Well, I'm back in Dublin after long airport delays, a turbulent transatlantic crossing, and a very emotional last few days of my Christmas holiday in Buffalo. I had to say goodbye, with the foreknowledge that it may well be forever, to a remarkable woman whom I have loved as my own grandmother since the day she welcomed me with open arms into her wonderful family. I could not possibly love her more if she were my own flesh and blood. My heart still longs for a miracle and holds out hope that she will win the fight with the pancreatic cancer that is ravaging her, even as my mind attempts to prepare me for the seemingly inevitable. When will we ever find a cure for cancer? How many more of those dearest to me and to others will it hurt before we figure out how to control it?
All these thoughts and many more whirled about my head in the crossing from New York to Dublin, as we ascended amongst the silent, ghostly forms of passing clouds. Almost before I was aware, the night had passed swiftly and a cold sun rose, revealing a frozen and timeless world of cloud far below. Not long after, the plane began its slow, steady descent into the thick white turf and for a time, my mind went as blank as the luminous, misty world we were passing through. When I opened my eyes again, we had descended beneath the wall of cloud and my breath was stolen away by the otherworldly beauty of the soft, green land that was being unveiled beneath us. This is always my favorite part of the trip; the low flight over the countless geometrically-patterned fields coloured in every shade of green, while purple mountains loom in the haze and the rain-curtain of the world opens; a sudden, slender ray of sun pierces through the thick clouds and far off, a single field glitters like an emerald fallen into the lap of the land... and as always, my heart soars.
Is Éirinn, an ghrá mo chroí.