While the stone walls that frame the countryside in Ireland are solid and grounding, the air in Ireland is unto itself.
It is truly a force of nature, as strong and ageless as the land it touches.
Here, in the States, I rarely have the urge to simply stand still and breathe.
To invite the air to enter your body and your mind. To be refreshed by it. Calmed by it.
Refocused by it.
That doesn’t happen here. At least to me. Here you breathe . .. well because you have to.
Here the air is functional . . .most of the time. It feels a bit chaotic. Someone, somewhere is always allergic to what’s in the air. Dust. Pollen. Peanut butter. Fumes. Bird droppings. Vaporized, carcinogenic, charcoal grilled steaks. Exhaust. It doesn’t matter what part of the country you are in, look around. Someone to your immediate left or right is miserable, simply by breathing.
In Ireland, you’re never more than 4 hours from the ocean, in any direction. It’s a small island in a big body of water. The wind coming across the ancient earth, off the ocean, from any direction is enough to blow the cobwebs from your thoughts.
Pollen and fumes and ragweed don’t stand a chance.
There, the air is pure. You’re inhaling the wind—and it’s infused with sun and rain and sea as it blows across the fields and down the mountains.
There’s a hint of turf smoke in the air on any given day. Turf, or peat. Cut from the land . An ecosystem unto itself. Filled with vegetation dating back thousands of years. You’ll also find the occasional Viking sword and bit of ancient gold . . . But historic artifacts aside, a bog is considered to be an extraordinary contributor to the environment in which it resides, bringing a natural balance. They are a massive resource of carbon. Giving more than it takes.
The air in Ireland is windswept, crystal clear, and life affirming.
You could blindfold me tomorrow, fly me around the world, spin me around a few times and tell me to take a deep breath. And I’d know I was there.
I believe that it’s all woven together—the place, the pace, the ground beneath our feet and the air we breathe.
There is a consequence to our life in America. Our cars, our disposable lives, our ribbons of asphalt and productive factories.
Here . . . life is hectic and cluttered. Functional. Fast paced. Fretted over. Enhanced. Purposeful. Our lives erupt in one direction, without any thought to the particles of that idea that are left floating behind, as we race to conquer the next new, cool thing. Our air is debris-filled. It is a cluster of chaotic particles all trailing behind our ideas and plans and distractions. It’s a swirl of fragments and splintered ideas.
There . . .the ocean and the land, indeed the size of the country all play a role in who they are. Every day. At every turn. You are connected to your history. You are reminded of the gifts, and challenges of life on a small island. You have to think about what you’re doing and why you do it . ..and the impact on your neighbor. It’s a tightly woven, wind swept community, where time is at a pace unto itself . . . and you are forced to let the dust settle.
You can’t escape the power of the wind. And you can’t underestimate it.
It will change your life. If you let it.