From June 27, 2015 through July 10, 2015 my wife Jill and I honeymooned all across Ireland. I took a "digital sabbatical", deleting social and work apps from my phone and preferring to use my real eyes over a screen to view things. I also wrote. A lot. Like, pages upon pages. A few of the things I wrote will appear here. Here's the first in that series.
This is what I came to Ireland looking for. I'm somewhere where I don't know where I am, stopped on a small side road, off some other unnamed road staring across a deep, rolling, green valley with endless skies.
Cows graze off in the distance, while an old man rides a tractor. It sputters along, stopping here and there so the man can get out, tinker with something, kick it once or twice, then climb back on.
I pause for a good 20 minutes, feeling the breeze, smelling, absorbing. By now, the old man has made his way up to me. He hops down and asks in a wonderful, deep native accent if I'm looking for something. I tell him no, I had just stopped to admire and write about it.
"You're joking," he says.
I show him some of what I've written so far and a sketch I've drawn of his land. His eyes, already smiling when we met, beam brighter still. He knows his land is beautiful, but knowing I appreciate it so much gives him even more to admire in it.
He tells me his names is Symes. He points out some landmarks in the distance. He tells me about a haunted house somewhere nearby, where to get the best pint, and then decides to move on. I stay.
About 15 minutes later he returns in a small truck, with a dog sitting on the back.
"I've got to move me cows!" he belts out to me.
Not sure precisely what he meant, I decide to stay put, waiting to see if my gut reaction is correct. Symes closes the gate I came in through, reassuring me that I'm fine standing where I am, then buzzes off down the road a bit out of sight.
About 5 minutes later and I'm treated to a road full of cows heading my way.
"I'm not sure what I thought was going to happen," I say out loud.
The cows amble past. A few stop to stare at me. Surely I'm a disruption to their daily routine, as they are mine. Across the road they go, with the farmer pulling up the rear.
Suddenly the "animal crossing" sign I saw on my way is put to incredible use. As he pulls to a stop to open the gate for me, he smiles again and shouts, "Now you've seen everything!"
Maybe not, but getting closer for sure. I love this.