Waking up on yesterday’s Irish morning I saw sunshine and reeled. In the shock sense, not the dancing sense.
Thrust into sunny happiness I rushed outside and kissed a buttercup whereupon I promptly wet my pants.
I am of course making this up. I didn’t wake up yesterday morning.
Neither of course was there sunshine. At least not in the traditional sense. But it wasn’t raining, and in Ireland’s summer of rain, that counts as sunshine.
Nobody else calls it the summer of rain though, because everybody else was here last summer. Now that was rain.
And to be fair to god, or batman, or whoever shines giant torches in the sky, yesterday morning wasn’t entirely without sun. True, with a duvet of grey clouds you couldn’t see any sunshine technically, but such was the low tog value that the sun was bleeding through.
To convince my dog that the summers of obscene heat she left behind in the American Midwest weren’t to be replaced solely by walks in the rain, I decided on a day trip. Dog-dog would meet the representative of her people in Ireland, the American Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, a mere 45 minutes walk away in the heart of the Phoenix Park.
There was a time when the walk to get to the Park would have involved skirting around burnt out cars and scurrying through hedgerows and down muddy slopes, but now we walk on an ashpalt Slí na Sláinte walkway. And like any path to health it is littered with the remains of dreams gone by - empty beer cans, broken glass, and melted asphalt.
Thinking how nice it is to get away from my ongoing attempts to free my life from storage and get back painting, I enter the park via Chapelizod Stile and remember I have an unfinished painting of it in storage.
Being Dog-dog’s first time in the Park, I was concerned when the Acres would come into view that so would the entire herd of Fallow Deer, 300 to 500 strong, but there were just a couple of dozen over by Oldtown Wood and Jack Russell’s don’t see very far in meadows of two-foot grass.
While I’ve walked across the Acres hundreds of times, I love it in times like this, when only two people are in view on a piece of land on which 29 years ago I could see nothing but people, over a million of them.
Luckily the Pope left his big cross behind, presumably because he already had his to carry, and the grassy base was perfect for a rest now the sun had persuaded blue sky to come out to play. By now Dublin itself was also coming out to play and the few kids around were shouting foreign words like Mama and Papa.
The dog and I just looked at the mountains, as I explained that the foothills had changed colour over the years, from green to a shade of apartment. The mountains are bigger the further you walk away from them, and having walked a couple of miles at this stage they were just the right size.
It was time to meet the US Government’s representative in Ireland.
Deerfield is a magnificent building surrounded by a Ha-Ha. It means the American Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary can sit inside Deerfield and look out at Europe’s largest enclosed urban park, with the view not interupted by a wall.
Anyone who has ever looked through a keyhole will tell you that views work both ways, so the dog and I stood in Europe’s largest enclosed urban park and looked in at the home of the American Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary. As you approach closer you see the trench and the sunken wall that doesn’t rise above Deerfield lawn. Ha Ha, you can’t come in.
I called Dog-dog out of the trench, for god knows what might be down there, and walked back into the meadow to ponder plans, the dog following by leaping in and out of view in the long grass. We’ll try the front door, I said to a patch of moving grass.
The first part of the dog I saw next were her paws and I knew it was time to go home.
Dog-dog finally came bounding towards me smiling, yes actually smiling, that’s the kind of dog she is, as happy as a dog in deer poo, and I broke the news that our day-trip had reached its point of return.
The American Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary would have to wait.
More of My Meanderings:
• Readying for Ireland on the Streets of Kansas City
• The Seagull Has Landed
• On Me Holidays
• An Irish Odyssey in Kansas City