Pull back the curtains | 19 February

Pull back the curtains.
Feel light against raw skin.
Capture the eyelash that falls
as you blink.
These are the words I can no longer
speak with.
To be the mirror that holds
the reflection, to be the reflection
and not the thing.
I dreamt you were stones
at the bottom of a fish tank
black stones, and as the light
hit the water, I could see
through you. You were empty.
My mouth filled you up.

Reflection: Traveling to Dún Aengus

It’s easy to think of death when you’re so close to the edge already. On the cliffs at Dún Aengus (or Dún Aonghasa in Gaelic), only inches separate life from death. There are no warning signs here—no railings, no fences, no American watchdogs telling you to stand back. Visitors sit as close to the brink as they want, and those who are not afraid of heights—or falls—take advantage of the near-death-like experience of being so-close. (If you want proof, check out #aranislands on Instagram.)

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Why Do We Feel Some Places More Than Others? | 12 July 2007

048Dun Aengus, Irishmore, on the Aran Islands

Here again — finally after getting lost and a long bike ride uphill — able to write in my journal this time. Oh the sound of it, the Atlantic against all this rock, the deep boom that becomes more. All I want to do is be able to fly out there, my ashes spread, the deep blue of ocean and sky and sky mixed with ocean.

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15 July 2007

IMG_0584At the Lough Bird Sanctuary —

To be the sole bird away from the bread, to find one’s own food below the surface of the Lough. This is where the ducks and swans live, where people come to feed them. There is something magical about this place. A long walk through suburbia, Ireland’s newfound money to find it. It appears as an oasis does: the simple beauty of birds floating along its kale green surface.

To swim with you, among the ripples of waves, to plunge below for fish without a rod. I want to move as you do.

Swimming in Shit

IMG_1397You never truly know a place until you swim in its body of water.

When I was 31, I traveled to Cork, Ireland to study Irish Literature and Travel Writing, as part of a study abroad program through my graduate school program at Texas State University. While I was there, my friend David urged me to sign up for a 2,000-meter swimming race in the River Lee, the body of water that runs through Cork.

Since I’ve been a swimmer most of my life and since I had swam open water races before, including a 5K race in Lake Michigan and a 1.2 mile swim in the Atlantic, I knew it was possible — the distance, the crowd of other swimmers, the movement of the water, how it controls you and not the other way around.

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29 July 2007

Cork, Ireland.

Yesterday I swam in the River Lee in a 2000-meter race. I felt slow in the water, and my body was cold for most of the race.

We stood in the rain in our bathing suits until we were led onto the platform by a marshal holding colossal umbrellas while bagpipes played. That was my moment — tears filled my eyes. I felt at home, one with the Irish, a part of it.

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