. From the moment I awoke, this was one of the best days of my life.
. I awoke to dazzling rays of golden sun streaming in my window. For the first time in the better part of a decade, my teeth were thoroughly clean, as I had managed to see the dentist for a professional cleaning the day before- something I had not been able to afford on top of all the other demands of life back home in far, FAR too long. I went downstairs to see my lovely mother and enjoy a delicious cup of steaming coffee (yes, I brought it from home.) We shared our usual delightful discourse, then I fired up Facebook to see what my friends were up to. They were busily SHOWERING ME WITH LOVE! Many beautiful, beautiful sentiments were directed my way. I was verklempt!
. After a delicious lunch, my mother drove me into Bantry, as it was bridge day for mom, so I walked into town on my own armed with a good book, my journal and my wonderful camera that love so much I would marry it if humans were allowed to wed technology! It was a special day there, because not only are Friday’s “fair day” (we would call it a flea market), but an international boating race was also in full swing. Lots of people bustling in a colorful marketplace offered delightful photo opportunities.
. Then I walked up to Bantry House, the former home of Earl and Lady Bantry where I roamed the gardens taking great pictures and enjoying the stunning view of Bantry Bay. On the way back down the long driveway, I remembered affectionately the last time I was there in 1993 with dear Bekah. Her arthritis was flaring up after a day spent walking, so I had to carry her piggy-back all the way down. It was perhaps the most ‘macho’ thing I’ve ever done, and it pushed my physical limits. (Couldn’t do it today!) As Bekah is gone now, it was a very bittersweet memory.
. Next I walked to the pier where the races originated from and enjoyed the hubbub there: Lots of excited young people milling about as an announcer explained what was going on, though all the action was so far out at sea, spectators couldn’t see anything except their comings and goings. The Danish team huddled and talked strategy. Kids were dressed as pirates with cutlasses and eyepatches emblazoned with skull and crossbones emblems. Returning to the fair, I bought a photo card from a nice lady named “Little” who happened to live in Glengarriff, though she had yet to meet my mother. We shared a nice long chat about Ireland, America and world culture and I took her photograph. Next I bought some delicious cashews from two swarthy vendors who were clearly not native Irish. We had a great chat. One was from Iran and the other was a Kurd from Iraq. They seemed thrilled I was so open to talk to them and so supportive of their countries and people’s struggles.
. It was getting time to head back as the ladies’ bridge game would be ending soon. On the way back, I stopped into an office labeled “West Cork Music”. Turns out they are promoters of traditional Irish music, a genre I adore. (I had met their founder Martin Hayes in Galway after a concert I saw with Shannon. I went backstage to encourage him to bring a tour to Santa Cruz, as there is already a Celtic music society there and a ready-made audience. Years later he did in fact play the Kuumbwa- just as I had suggested. Saw it. Great show!) Then I noticed Kevin Crawford was a part of this year’s festival, (happening JUST AFTER I leave for home. Drat!) and mentioned I had met him a few times after hometown Lunasa shows. The lady very was impressed that I knew so much about the genre and its important artists and we shared a nice exchange.
. Walking abck in the glorious sunshine, I realized that I had never been happier. What a luxury, to be able to live one’s life totally in THE MOMENT, with no agenda, not obsessing about problems or worries, as a pilgrim to another culture- especially for such a pauper who spends so much energy worrying about how to make ends meet and fill his own needs. I was feeling blessed that my mom is still here on the planet with us, I am relatively healthy and very loved my family and great friends. I am eating fabulously well (my mom feeds me delicious, nutritious, well-balanced meals- something I rarely do for myself back home.) I have a roof over my head to keep out the rain and will be going home to a home and a job and performances to look forward to. There was only ONE THING missing in the equation: a partner. Someone special to adore and pamper and share my most intimate self with. But I’m used to being alone. Been single for 16 years! For the time-being at least, I was okay in my own skin, happy to be myself- warts, foibles, inner beauty and all. With the universe showing so much validation and love, how could I feel anything but grateful?
. Profoundly grateful and thankful to be alive!
© Kevin Paul Keelan and lastcre8iveiconoclast, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Kevin Paul Keelan and lastcre8iveiconoclast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.