A quiet house this morning. I’m just back from dropping this kids at their schools and David has gone to Knock Airport to pickup a new car. We were without a car for five days thanks to a miscommunication between the Baker family and the Budget family. I’m glad we had a chance to experience this place sans car. The only moment of “Grr, I wish we had a car” was yesterday when Corin and I walked into town to pickup Finn from school. I tried to time our walk so that we wouldn’t get caught in the rain. The landscape is so open here (not many big trees in this part of Ireland and Ballycastle is in a shallow valley the pitches into the ocean) that you can see great distances. When I am running I can be two miles from the house and look over to see our cottage. On slow, tired days I imagine the boys are standing at the window cheering me on. Anyway, the broad perspective allows one to get a ‘coming attractions’ of the weather. So yesterday I watched the clouds- some shedding rain - and tried to place our walk between showers. Ack. No such luck. Halfway to Finn’s school the wind picked up and hard rain and sleet fell. Corin and I hunkered down next to a stone wall; I drew him close and then propped the umbrella next to us like a lean-to, keeping the water and ice at bay. We chanted the “Rain rain go away” song and in two minutes the storm had passed and we each had just a damp bit on the side of our pants. It’s hard to mind such moments; damp trousers are a small price to pay for getting to huddle in a hail storm with a two year old wearing a Tigger rain coat.
We find ourselves sliding towards our departure from Ireland. Less than two weeks to go. I feel a mixture of panic, regret and “alright, let’s just get on with it.” The panic comes from knowing that there’s so much more to see and do here – yet we’ll never get to it all. I am caught in the same choice one finds at a favorite restaurant; do you order what you always order, knowing that it’s delicious, or do you branch out and try something new? I am torn between wanting the days to be humdrum Irish days – the routine that I love of running in the morning, walking the boys to school, working or reading or writing for a few hours each morning, having lunch with David and Corin, walking to get Finn later in the day, stopping at Polke’s so that Finn can buy a treat, lazy afternoons to play with the boys, improvising dinner, more play with the kids, bedtime routine for the boys, then reading, tv and talking with David – and days of newness and adventure. Not having a car has helped make this choice, as we’ve stayed close to home. This weekend we plan to do some exploring and will go to Achill Island on Saturday if the weather cooperates. There’s an abandoned abbey in a cow pasture about 15 miles away that we also want to visit. In addition, we’ve arranged for a sitter to come on Friday evening and David and I have plans to go to Ballina for dinner and a walkabout. The next 12 days will be spent in this tug-o-war between reveling in the familiar and pushing myself to see a few more new things before I go. I find that I am more inclined to go with old favorites than to try new things. I suppose that’s a sign that I am really very happy over here.