Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Hey Deke, I'm Back from Scotland!

Overwhelmed with emotion at the beauty
one feels on Isle of Skye!
"Once there was a way
to get back homeward
Once there was a way
to get back home.

Sleep pretty darling 
do not cry
and I will sing a lullaby.

Golden slumbers fill your eyes
Smiles awake you when you rise
Sleep pretty darling, do not cry
And I will sing a lullaby.

Once there was a way
To get back homeward,
Once there was a way
to get back home.
Sleep pretty darling
do not cry
and I will sing a lullaby

Boy you're gonna carry that weight
Carry that weight, a long time...

I never give you my pillow
I only send you my invitations.
And in the middle of the celebrations,
I break down...

Boy you're gonna carry that weight
Carry that weight, a long time...

And in the end the love you take
is equal to the love you make."


--John Lennon/Paul McCartney and The Beatles

* * * * *

Deke's Note: Okay Patrick, you have blasted this trip far and wide from abroad. Glad you enjoyed it in spite of all the whisk(e)y you consumed. We have all enjoyed your pictures and notes on FaceBook. I have taken a step back from blogging to take a while to reflect upon my own life and this writer's muse. We eagerly await your reflections abroad, albeit spotty and sparse. Hey, however long you need, it's all good. The more you write the less I need to. This blog has become a heavy burden. Keep reflecting as long as necessary. Meanwhile, I have a bus to drive! Our vacations are respectively finished...


* * * * *

Patrick Sez: Thank you Deke, for allowing me to give you a break from your six years of blogging to describe my experiences traveling in Scotland and Ireland. Apologies for not being regular or detailed in my reports, but as this was our 25th Anniversary Adventure, my wife insisted I spend more time with her than writing on the blog. As it was so much fun, I supremely enjoyed obliging her. Now, after the longest journey of my life (so far), I'm home again. On the first anniversary of my dear father's passing, I offer my first detailed report of our time in Caledonia. Dad was elated about our trip, and I felt his presence the entire time. Thanks Dad, for giving me the bravery to boldly venture forever onward.


* * * * *

Early morning initial view
of Ireland from above.
The one thing which struck me most profoundly while in Scotland and Ireland was their attention to detail and profound politeness. Even when they're pissed off, Scots and Irish are helpful and kind. You can feel their annoyance, but ingrained into their DNA is an overwhelming tendency to be efficient yet decent. It's something we Americans often forget to display. A trip to the countries of our origins sets the wandering Yankee right, if that's what we search for. And yes, that is the result of our trip, a desire to touch upon what made us great to begin with.

A year of detailed planning was helpful but could never prepare us for the delights we shared upon our arrival in this ancient and elegant land. Our first glimpse of the countryside as we flew in was awe-inspiring. Pastures of emerald in every shade were delineated by miles of neatly-lain "dykes." These fences, as we know them, contain no mortar, but are boulders fitted together so precisely, they are solid. And so they remain for centuries, delineating one pasture owner's land from the next. From the air, each section seems divinely drawn. One field might lay fallow while the next is alive and bright green. Adjacent lies another just a shade lighter or darker. Trees are more sparse and often densely-grouped on the forested hillsides. Stark lines exist between them, as if God Himself gripped a paintbrush and decided which pasture neighbors a pristine and ancient patch of Caledonian pine.

Oregon offers a beautiful variety of conifers, but they are thicker in build. What we see daily hardly prepares us for the wonder that lies beyond. The pines in Scotland seem dainty in comparison, sparse in fact. Yet they retain an ancient grandeur when witnessed anew.

I had just one grand opportunity to venture into the forest on my travels upon the Isle of Skye. I discovered the going can be quite treacherous unless there's a sharply-delineated path. The dampness of the deep forest makes the going quite mucky. Each step required precise placement. I found my aging body merely-qualified for a tentative few steps into its stately magic. It was as if some ancient spirit told me to tread gently, that my presence there was a gift I must not take lightly. One misstep could have landed me in the hospital, and that would be a tragic footnote into this ethereal retreat.

Just 20 steps into its majesty, I had to stop and treasure the sights, smells and sounds of this intense patch of what I had always dreamed of. I stood there and listened. Present only was the wind in the branches, whispering the tales of ancient Scots who had herded, hunted and lived here. My soul was instantly filled with the peaceful serenity of an intense brightness enveloping its depths. Perhaps I was guided by ancestors who stood in that very spot, reveling in the beauty I beheld.

The music of Dan Fogelberg ran through my mind as the wind ruffled my hair and soothed my soul. My happiness at finally feeling the depths of a Skye forest enveloped me, grateful to have this opportunity it was overwhelming. I stood there transfixed, losing all sense of the ticking from my Timex. In fact, other than the breeze, its second hand was all I could hear. It was amazing, having been mired by the sounds of city life for years. My heart told me: STAY! My soul cried out that this was the solace I have longed for. My practical side be damned; I was on holiday, and rejoicing in the moment.

The intensity of writing this reduces me to tears of joy in remembrance. I can go no further tonight, my first back home. Hopefully, my initial reminisces are intense enough to describe the magic of this trip. There is much more to recall, and hopefully Deke will allow me a few more posts to describe a few more of these magical moments.

My body is exhausted from the daylong trip home. Only the incredible emotion from my initial memories, coupled with a desire to immediately express them upon our arrival, am I even remotely conscious now. It seems if I allow myself to sleep after 30-plus hours, the magic will escape forever. It's a feeling I am loathe to release.

Emotions flow as I recall the many magical memories I never fathomed possible. Twenty-five years prior, when my beloved promised me she would endure life with me no matter what hardships we faced, I offered her the same. We renewed this solemn vow of love for one another in an 18th-century cathedral in Edinburgh on September 24. Our experiences together are more precious than we could fathom on that hot Tucson afternoon in 1994. We raised three beautiful children together, and are rewarded with their love and great success today and far into our future.

While I promised Deke to describe this trip in detail, I failed because of one promise that remains precious above all: to fully rejoice in my time alone with Stacey Lynn Coomer, the one soul who understands, accepts and loves me despite my many faults. We deserved this, as one. Forgotten were my daily toils as a bus operator under horrid conditions. My desire to write was blown away by the promise to her that we would enjoy every precious moment of this Celtic Odyssey... together.

Just down the lane from Taigh Ailean Hotel on Isle of Skye.
Transit was used only as necessary, and my desire to connect with fellow transit workers was secondary to simple fun. Most important remained our renewed promise to enjoy our time as the best friends we began as so long ago. It was more than either of us imagined, and I believe my beloved Stacey feels as wonderfully satisfied as I do upon its completion. It is with a deeply-ingrained sense of understanding that I can firmly state that yes, she agrees. It was a divine slice of time together, and these memories will remain long after both have us have left this Earthly plane.

I leave you with this: may your days be blessed with the love and closeness with one as deep as that with which I share with Stacey Lynn Coomer. I would give my life for her in hopes that she lives to be 120, if only these two weeks guide her to take footsteps into lands we never ventured upon before. Also, I hope our magical time prompts you who read this to boldly travel beyond the comforts of your homeland. You will surely grow from such experiences. Ventures abroad remind us to be humble in the shadows of those who came long before. Our United States is grand, but it is a child compared to the lands of our ancestors.

Next time, if Deke continues to rest while I spout forth this spigot of incredible memories, I will step beyond the depths of emotion to describe the majesty of Scotland and our brief excursion to Dublin, Ireland. My mother's great-great grandfather emigrated from the Emerald Isle to Canada, and I am named for his grandson. It was ethereal to spend my birthday in James Strong's homeland.

Thank you for all your kind words and prayers for our safe return. They worked magic. Bless you all; I am humbled by your love. Now I must do laundry, refresh myself and prepare to return as one with a more-worldly view. Maybe now I'll become the bus operator I hoped to be when I began.

Peace and love to you all, and to those you love and hold you close in their hearts. Slainte!

With utmost respect,
Patrick Brian Coomer


No comments:

Post a Comment