I'm out of my element here in Ireland. Everything is unfamiliar. Which is completely perfect. I'm sure I am braver, more flexible, more observant and more engaged in strange surroundings. More willing to stretch my limits. More willing to be uncomfortable. All of which, somehow, magically, makes me extremely happy.
After closing the gallery yesterday, we walked for 90 minutes in a steady drizzle along the River Feale, through the Garden of Europe, through a cemetery, past the "pitch and putt". Out in the elements, we were immersed (doused, drenched) in all things Irish.
We met intrepid dog walkers and dogs, including Sheba, a tiny black and white cutie who ruled all the big dogs. And Lucy, an energetic, long-haired hunting dog who dared the others to catch her as she leapt through dripping undergrowth, back and forth across the path. Our conversations with dog owners included a lot of smiling and nodding, the brogue being so thick we weren't exactly sure what was being said, but everything seemed lighthearted so we smiled.
Gardens, verdant and wet. Pathways, puddled and stoned. A cemetery, celebratory and exuberant, unexpected in the gray mist. A sculptural tribute to those who lost their lives in the holocaust, rough wood and rusted chains evoking hushed emotions. A life preserver ring hanging from a tree near the raging waters of the river - a reminder to tread carefully. Our sodden raincoats hanging from the hook at night. Day two in Ireland.