So You Want to Go to Ireland! (Part 1): Getting the Backstory

I can think of no better way to get acquainted with a country than to read its literature, both fiction and nonfiction. (I wrote about this a while back in my other blog.) Everybody knows there was a famine (but … why?). We know Americans discriminated against the Irish in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (and again … why?). But there are even larger questions. My generation grew up knowing about “the Troubles,” but I didn’t understand what had caused them. I simply could not wrap my mind around the whole Catholic/Protestant tension, or why there was a little bit of Ireland that still belonged to the United Kingdom, and, wait, the country’s only been independent since 1922? Yes.

In my work as an editor, I caution novelists not to reveal the backstory too soon, but when you’re traveling to a country you know little about—leprechauns don’t count—it’s good to have a handle on the basic historical facts. (Misunderstandings abound. I was in a Dublin tour group with a know-it-all American who was shocked—and said so—when the guide used the words Irish civil war.) William Shakespeare wrote, “What’s past is prologue” (The Tempest, act 2, scene 1), and nowhere is that more true than Ireland. (Ol’ Will’s intention was slightly different than our modern interpretation. But it still works.)

I have a long list that I’ll post below; you can investigate individual titles at your leisure. But if you came to me and asked for a few recommendations to familiarize yourself with the history and the culture, I’d probably start with these ten:

Ireland: An Illustrated History, by Henry Weisser (Hippocrene Books 1999)
Nonfiction—particularly history—is important if you’re trying to “get” Ireland. You can read all about it online, of course. But Gerry bought me this little (read it in an afternoon) book at the United Nations in 2003. It’s succinct and perfect. It’s available new if you can’t find it at the library, but I bet you can also buy it used.

How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland’s Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe, by Thomas Cahill  (Anchor 1996)
When the barbarian hordes descended upon Europe from the north, burning the libraries in Greece and Rome and plunging Western civilization into the Dark Ages, Ireland was just too far for them to go. So there were all those monks, patiently transcribing books in their remote monasteries and beehive huts. And when the time was right, they got in their little boats and sailed back to England and beyond. This is seriously one of my favorite books of all time.

Are You Somebody? The Accidental Memoir of a Dublin Woman, by Nuala O’Faolain (Henry Holt & Co. 1996)
O’Faolain—an Irish journalist, TV producer, and writer of both memoir and fiction—was born in Dublin in 1940, a time when Ireland lagged behind most first world countries in every way, much of it due to the stranglehold the Catholic Church had on every aspect of Irish life. She grew up poor, one of nine children, but was ultimately educated at University College Dublin, the University of Hull, and Oxford University. And she had a very interesting life.

Ireland, by Max Caulfield, photos by Joe Cornish (Gill & Macmillan 1993)
I bought this coffee-table book in Ireland on my first trip in 2003. Primarily a book of beautiful photographs, it is also a record of six tours around Ireland, each beginning in a major town (Dublin, Wexford, Cork, Galway, Westport, and Belfast). Caulfield is a historian and journalist, and this book is absolutely the best overview I can think of if you’re planning a trip. It’s out of print but you can pick it up at any online used book source for just a few bucks … which is what I did for my sis and my friend Margaret when we were planning our 2012 trip together. It’s that good.

Ireland: A Novel, by Frank Delaney (Harper 2005)
The Irish have a rich tradition of folklore, and these stories are as alive in their twenty-first century culture as they were when they were first told by the seanchaithe (pronounce it SHAWN-a-kee), or bards. This novel was given to me by a publishing friend when it first came out. When I finished it, I realized that I’d learned every important Irish folktale, as well as the important points of Irish history, all wrapped up in the modern-day story. Again, it’s a great overview.

The Gathering, by Anne Enright (Jonathan Cape 2007)
The gathering here is for a funeral; Liam Hegarty, one of nine children, has committed suicide. The sibling who was closest to him—his sister Veronica—is first shocked, then angry, and begins to remember incidents from her childhood (and Liam’s). The novel ranges from the 1920s to present day, and is a really good look at a large Irish-Catholic family in Dublin. The prose is beautiful, the story is stunning, and it won the Man Booker Prize for fiction in 2007.

TransAtlantic, by Colum McCann (Random House, 2013)
I wrote about TransAtlantic in my professional blog—it was my favorite book of 2013—so I’ll just link you and let you go. It’s a New York Times best seller, was long listed for the Man Booker, and it made me cry (in a good way). Fabulous book.

The Land of Spices, by Kate O’Brien (Virago Modern Classics 2006)
Published in 1941 but set in 1905–1914 Limerick, this novel by one of Ireland’s most famous writers is considered a classic. The action happens almost completely within the walls of a girls’ convent school, with two protagonists—the Mother Superior and a young student. This may not sound like much, but the characters draw you in quickly and then in the last quarter of the book—bam! bam!—it punches you right in the gut, twice. It’s an allegory, really, of the “new” Ireland—the Republic—rising up and leaving the old attitudes (particularly about women) behind. It knocked me out.

After the Rising, by Orna Ross (Font Publications 2011)
This novel has a present-day story that is set up by events that happened in Co. Cork after the Rising (that is, the Easter Rising of 1916), in what became known as the War of the Brothers—Ireland’s painful, tragic civil war. It is so detailed and so compelling, I was calling Gerry every day, asking him specific points of history. (This led to the arrival in my mailbox of Green Against Green, when my questions got too detailed; like me, he’s been out of school a long time.)

Trinity, by Leon Uris (Doubleday 1976)
This novel came out during the height of the Troubles, when the much, much younger me was having trouble understanding the root cause of a situation that seemed to be about religion. I’d loved Exodus, Mila 18, and other historical fiction by Uris, and this was no exception—particularly since it gave me the insight I needed to understand what was really happening in Ireland. My reading tastes have changed; I recently began to reread Trinity and liked it much less. But I recommend it because I believe this epic saga of four families will be absolutely perfect for some readers.

So that’s the short list! Here’s a longer list—still not complete—of Ireland-related books on my shelf (including those mentioned above). There may be something here of interest to you. Some of these were purchased in Ireland and may not be available in the States, in which case check an online used book source like Abebooks.com. Enjoy!

History/Sociology
• A Short History of Dublin, by Pat Boran (Mercier Press 2000)
• How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland’s Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe, by Thomas Cahill  (Anchor 1996)
• The Shankill Butchers: A Case Sturdy of Mass Murder, by Martin Dillon (Arrow Books 1990)
• The Celts: Conquerors of Ancient Europe, by Christine Eluère (Harry N. Abrams 1992)
• They Never Came Home: The Stardust Story, by Neil Fetherstonnhaugh and Tony McCullagh (Merlin Publishing 2002)
• Northern Ireland: The Origins of the Troubles, by Thomas Hennessey (Gill & Macmillan 2005)
• Green Against Green: The Irish Civil War, by Michael Hopkinson (Gill & Macmillan 2004)
• The Fatal Shore: The Epic of Australia’s Founding, by Robert Hughes (Vintage 1988)
• The Great Shame: and the Triumph of the Irish in the English-Speaking World, by Thomas Keneally (Random House 1998)
• Last Words: Letters and Statements of the Leaders Executed After the Rising at Easter 1916, ed. Piaras F. MacLochlainn (Government of Ireland, 1990)
• The Heart of Dublin: Resurgence of an Historic City, by Peter Pearson (O’Brien Press 2000)
• The Celtic Cross, by Nigel Pennick (Blandford 1997)
• The Atlantean Irish: Ireland’s Oriental and Maritime Heritage, by Bob Quinn (Lilliput Press 2005)
• The Quiet Revolution: The Electrification of Rural Ireland, by Michael Shiel (O’Brien Press 2003)
• Daughters of Ireland: The Rebellious Kingsborough Sisters and the Making of a Modern Nation, by Janet Todd (Ballantine Books 2003)
• Ireland: An Illustrated History, by Henry Weisser (Hippocrene Books 1999)

Irish Interest
• Irish Place Names, by Deidre Flanagan & Laurence Flanagan (Gill & Macmillian 1994)
• The Lost Painting: The Quest for a Caravaggio Masterpiece, by Jonathan Harr (Random House 2005)
• Glasnevin: Ireland’s Necropolis, by Shane MacThomáis (Glasnevin Trust 2010)
High Shelves & Long Counters: Stories of Irish Shops, by Winifred McNulty & Heike Thiele (The History Press 2012)
• Ireland Unhinged: Encounters with a Wildly Changing Country, by David Monagan (Council Oak Books 2011)
• Ingenious Ireland: A County-by-County Exploration of Irish Mysteries and Marvels, by Mary Mulvihill (Townhouse Press 2002)
• Anam Cara: Spiritual Wisdom from the Celtic World, by John O’Donohue (Bantam Books 1997)
• Everything Irish, ed. Lelia Ruckenstein and James O’Malley (Ballantine Books 2005)
• Irish Cottages, by Walter Pfeiffer & Maura Shaffrey (Weidenfeld & Nicholson 1990)
• Slanguage: A Dictionary of Irish Slang, by Bernard Stone (Gill & Macmillian Ltd. 1997)

Memoir / Biography
• Michael Collins, by Tim Pat Coogan (Arrow Books 1990)
• It’s a Long Way from Penny Apples, by Bill Cullen (Mercier Press 1998)
• Rory and Ita, by Roddy Doyle (Jonathan Cape 2002)
• Round Ireland with a Fridge, by Tony Hawks (Tomas Dunne Books 1998)
• In Search of the Craic: One Man’s Pub Crawl Through Irish Music, by Colin Irwin (André Deutsch 2004)
• All of These People, by Fergal Keane (Harper Perennial 2005)
• McCarthy’s Bar, by Pete McCarthy (Thomas Dunne Books 2000)
• The Poor Mouth, by Flann O’Brien (published in Gaelic as An Beål Bocht by Myles na Gopaleen, 1941; first English translation 1973)
• Seán Keating: Art, Politics, and Building the Irish Nation, by Éimear O’Connor (Irish Academic Press 2013)
• Are You Somebody? The Accidental Memoir of a Dublin Woman, by Nuala O’Faolain (Henry Holt & Co. 1996)
• Almost There: The Onward Journey of a Dublin Woman, by Nuala O’Faolain (Michael Joseph Books, 2003)
Twenty Years A-Growing, by Maurice O’Sullivan (1933)

Travel
• A Literary Guide to Ireland, by Susan and Thomas Cahill (Charles Scribner’s & Sons 1973)
• Ireland, by Max Caulfield, photos by Joe Cornish (Gill & Macmillan 1993)
• The Irish Way, by Robert Emmett Ginna (Random House 2003)
• Ireland: Eyewitness Travel Guide (Dorling Kindersley Ltd.)
• Dublin Top 10 (Dorling Kindersley Ltd.)

Fiction
• The Sea, by John Banville
A Long, Long Way, by Sebastian Barry
• Herself Surprised, by Joyce Cary
Ireland: A Novel, by Frank Delaney (and many others by Delaney)
• The Ginger Man, by J.P. Donleavy
• Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha, by Roddy Doyle
• The Woman Who Walked into Doors, by Roddy Doyle
• The Gathering, by Anne Enright
• The All of It, by Jeannette Haien
Long Time, No See, by Dermot Healy
• Langrishe, Go Down, by Aidan Higgins
• Shade, by Neil Jordan
• Dubliners, by James Joyce
• Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, by James Joyce
• Good Behaviour, by Molly Keane
• The Butcher Boy, by Patrick McCabe
TransAtlantic, by Colum McCann
• At Swim-Two-Birds, by Flann O’Brien
• The Third Policeman, by Flann O’Brien
• The Land of Spices, by Kate O’Brien
• The Mammy, The Chiselers, The Granny, by Brendan O’Carroll
• My Dream of You, by Nuala O’Faolain
• Knick Knack Paddy Whack, by Ardal O’Hanlon
• After the Rising, by Orna Ross
• Before the Fall, by Orna Ross
• The Portable Irish Reader, edited by Diarmuid Russell
• The Princes of Ireland (The Dublin Saga), by Edward Rutherfurd
• The Rebels of Ireland (The Dublin Saga), by Edward Rutherfurd
• The Blackwater Lightship, by Colm Tóibín
• The Story of Lucy Gault, by William Trevor

You can find the introduction to this series here: Travel Daydreams.

Travel Daydreams

This is the time of year—cold, possibly snowy—when some of us stay inside more. Some of us stay in with a fire in the fireplace and a nice glass of wine, some of us stay in with Netflix on the tube or a good book in hand … and some of us stay in with our travel daydreams to keep us warm.

Whether you’re planning something fun for a week this summer or the trip of a lifetime next year (and you know who you are!), it’s good to, you know, think about it. A lot. Do a little forward planning so you can make the most out of your precious time and your hard-earned money.

I’m not talking about logistics, though. Oh sure, getting a flight, a hotel, a car—those things are important. But you can do that, right? You can call a travel agent or do it yourself. There are dozens of storefront and online companies that are eager to help. (Here are two articles—Top 15 Most Popular Travel Websites and 23 Best Travel Websites to Save You Money—with plenty of sites to explore.) I’ve been known to google things like “how to get from Livorno to Tower of Pisa”—Livorno being a popular port on some Mediterranean cruise line itineraries—and come up with fantastic blogs and other firsthand accounts that include step-by-step directions complete with street names, bus numbers, and walking time.

I love the Internet!

No, what I’m talking about is deciding what to do, what to look for, what to eat, what to buy. You may not know how to tell a tourist trap from a genuinely wonderful experience. You may not know where or how to pick and choose which experiences to pursue and which to save until next time. You may want mementos of your visit but don’t know what to buy or where. Sometimes you’re doing these things on the fly after you’ve already arrived. But you may have a friend who’s already been where you’re going, and if that’s the case … you ask.

Right?

The one place I’ve visited often enough to be of help to you is Ireland. In fact, this topic recently suggested itself because in the last couple months, several people have approached me asking for suggestions about what to see and do in Ireland on a week or ten-day vacation.

But … there are so many possibilities! The Republic of Ireland is about the same size as the state of Indiana, but the culture is ancient and deep. There is a lot to see and do, and you can’t do it all in one trip. You’ll want to narrow it down a bit. I can help with that.

So over the next few posts, I’m going to give you some suggestions about …

Getting the backstory
You’ll want some background information about the Republic of Ireland, its people, culture, and history, because a little bit of knowledge will enhance your visit exponentially. This is easier than you think, and isn’t one bit like studying for an exam. Honest.

• Narrowing it down
Different people have different interests (and thank goodness for that). It’s a simple process to craft an itinerary that’s perfectly suited to your interests if you know what’s on offer.

• Taking in the human culture
You’ve got to eat and drink every day. I’m not going to recommend restaurants so much as I’ll suggest how you can enjoy specifically Irish food and drink. You’ve got to kick up your heels a bit, too, so we’ll talk about music and special events.

• Finding the unique
You’ll want to take home a memento of your trip, won’t you? You don’t have to buy a plastic leprechaun, you know. I’ve got some suggestions for souvenirs that you’ll enjoy for years.

• Finding the magic
Some of my absolute favorite experiences were ones that just … happened. Completely unplanned. I’ll tell you about them, and give you some tips on how you can leave room for magic to happen too.

Hang on and watch this space. I’m going to tell you what I tell my friends. 🙂

Sheep, Co. Kerry. One of my favorite photos ever.

Sheep, Co. Kerry. One of my favorite photos ever.

What’s That You Say? A Polar Vortex?

In case you missed it, the United States has been in the middle of a cold snap. (The South, where I am, has thawed in recent days.)

They’re calling it a polar vortex, so naturally, I had to look it up. It’s nothing new, really, but folks are talking about it on NPR and all over the Interwebs.

It does bring out some interesting photos, however, and that’s what I wanted to share with you. These eerie photos of ice-encased lighthouses in Michigan, for example. I’m glad this gentleman makes the trek every year … so I don’t have to. 🙂

No, really. I do love to travel, but there are some experiences I don’t need to have. I watched a show on public television (longer ago than I care to say) that was about the polar ice caps. They’d cut holes in the ice and sent divers down below to film. The footage was spectacular—very blue. And it really gave you a sense of what a huge place this world is and how much we don’t know about it. How much we’ll never see. I remember being grateful that someone did this—made that dive—so I could see what it looked like and think about how lucky I was to live in this day and time.

It was also a little bit creepy and scary. You will never find me in the mood to swim under a polar ice cap. That’s a trip I will never take.

Niagara Falls is another question altogether. All the polar vortex excitement brought these photos out of the woodwork—OMG, Niagara Falls has FROZEN OVER!!!—and even though they were taken in 2011 (it happens fairly regularly, apparently), I enjoyed having a look. (And since we’re talking about it, here’s another interesting set of Niagara photos, from 1969 … when they turned it off.) And the falls are a place I’d like to visit sometime, too, though in milder weather.

Guess I’ll put it on the list. 🙂

You Don’t Have To Be Angelina Jolie

If you missed this news, my niece Marisa and her husband Tim (and their young children) are expats living in Vietnam, where Tim works for an international resort hotel company. Marisa has many Vietnam stories to share. This one will knock your socks off … (Oh, and don’t forget—you can click on any photo to enlarge it!)

You Don’t Have to Be Angelina Jolie

I just returned from a short trip to Siem Reap (which literally means “defeat of Siam”), the ancient capital of Cambodia. For most of us Americans, Cambodia isn’t your typical “top 10” vacation spot (unless perhaps you’re Angelina Jolie), but we live only a short flight away and it’s easy to get to and from Vietnam, so we didn’t want to miss the opportunity to go.

Siem Reap airport reminded us of an airport you would find on one of the Hawaiian Islands—the planes land on the tarmac and the building is a small indoor/outdoor A-frame structure with a warm welcome. Cambodians have embraced the masses of tourists that come there each year to see Angkor Wat, a Buddhist temple complex that dates from the early twelfth century. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site; this year 3.5 million people will visit and by the year 2020 they expect 7 million visitors.

Angkor Wat is the main reason we were there too. We wanted to see the temples.

And really, the temples are stunning, but this post isn’t about them. It’s about our visit to Tonlé Sap Lake, which, we would learn, is the largest fresh water lake in South East Asia. It is home to some 1.2 million people who are majority ethnic Vietnamese living in extreme poverty.

On our third day in Siem Reap, after we’d seen all the temples, Tim and I headed out to see one of the “floating villages” on the lake. Our hotel concierge had recommended it and it sounded interesting, so there we were on our tuk-tuk (an auto rickshaw) with big smiles on our faces, headed down a dirt road to the lake.

On the way there we saw the usual things that you see living in Asia. Lots of motorbikes, men sleeping in hammocks, people eating street food, and so on. But there were things that were different too. Different than you see in Vietnam or Thailand.

The extreme poverty is heartbreaking.

The extreme poverty is heartbreaking.

The wooden houses were very small (I’m talking 100 square feet) with as many as eight or nine people in some of them. Most all of the children were barefoot and naked—as young as two years old, playing right on the side of the road. Some were jumping rope or wrestling with their sisters and brothers and some were playing with garbage. But the kids were smiling and waving as we drove by. I waved back and half-smiled but my heart broke at the same time. Watching these kids, I couldn’t help but think of my own two children at home, nearly the same ages.

About thirty minutes later we arrived at the lake. A young man named Thanh greeted us and escorted us to a cashier. We paid $20USD each for a one-hour private guided boat tour around the lake. We hopped on board the wooden boat with Thanh and two other local guides and headed out onto the lake.

American tourists, so far still smiling.

American tourists, so far still smiling.

Thanh had grown up on the lake in this particular village where we were about to go. His father was Vietnamese and his mother Cambodian. His father had passed away when he was six. Thanh and his mother had moved to town with the help of a good Samaritan, a British man who years ago had visited the lake and paid for him to go to school and learn English. Because of that good fortune, Thanh now makes enough money as an English-speaking guide to live in town and take care of his mother. Thanh is twenty-one years old, and that stroke of luck seems like a miracle to him.

Our tour guide, Thanh, and Tim.

Our tour guide, Thanh, and Tim.

I could tell by the way Thanh spoke that he had a deep understanding and connection with the people and life on the lake. “There are around 150 families living in this particular village,” he explained. “They are too poor to live in town.” I thought, Poorer than the people we just drove past? Is that possible?

Thanh explained how these people lived on less than one dollar a day, how they were often hit with typhoons and malaria, and how there were over one hundred orphaned children living at the school on the lake because their parents had perished while fishing. I couldn’t even fathom it. By that point my half-smile was gone and I was overcome with sadness. I was in disbelief.

Soon we arrived at the floating village. It was astonishing—there was so much life going on! Mothers washing their laundry, kids playing and swimming, men fishing, grandparents resting, babies nursing, and all inside small wooden boats no bigger than my king-size bed.

Mothers washing laundry …

Mothers washing laundry …

… with children nearby. Note the baskets thrown up on the roof.

… with children nearby. Note the baskets thrown up on the roof.

The wooden boats had small stoves with fires burning in the back where women were cooking and boiling water so they could eat and drink. There were no toilets, no sinks, no showers on these boats. Some were bigger than others but all still small. Really, really small.

I tried taking it all in. I couldn’t have even imagined that this community existed, that people actually lived like this. I know it sounds naïve, but I am not. I promise. I live in Vietnam, which is undeveloped and rife with poverty, but this … this was new to me.

Laundry hanging out to dry.

Laundry hanging out to dry.

This level of poverty was new to me.

This level of poverty was new to me.

As we cruised around the lake, we photographed the people and their way of life. Using boats they would travel between friends’ houses, or move their fish from one location to the next, or go to the local “watering hole,” where philanthropists had provided safe drinking water for them. Here these people were, just going about their daily life. I saw one man washing his hair and brushing his teeth over the side of the boat in the lake water and another taking care of his business just a few feet away. And there we were, just watching. I felt helpless.

Just going about daily life.

Just going about daily life.

Locals use boats to travel between homes and shops.

Locals use boats to travel between homes and shops.

And then, not a moment too soon, Thanh asked us if we wanted to help. “Of course,” we said, “tell us how and we will.” He took us to the community market where we could by rice to donate to the local school. A local Cambodian man runs the small market from inside his tiny boat where he gives back to the community 35 percent of what he makes. This man, who probably makes $5 on a good day, gives back 35 percent of what he makes! I was inspired.

Shopping.

Shopping.

We spent nearly all of the money we had brought with us and bought 90 kilograms of rice (about $90USD). As my husband loaded the two sacks of rice onto our rented boat my eyes filled with tears. Why didn’t we bring more money? I thought. Surely, we could do more. For goodness sakes, the shop owner gives 35 percent. The tears were streaming down my face now. I couldn’t stop myself from crying.

Poverty is a way of life.

Poverty is a way of life.

I cried.

I cried.

We headed over to the school where classes had already dismissed … but the kids who lived there, who never left there, who have no parents, were still there. The boat was more like a barge and probably the biggest in the village. It consisted of three classrooms and a living room, I guess you would call it. This is where the kids slept, just there, on the floor.

The kids were playing games and hanging out, just like any other kids would after school. Some were dancing, some were playing marbles, and some were just quietly sitting in their desks.

Orphans playing after school.

Orphans playing after school.

We unloaded the rice and brought it into their kitchen area, which was just a couple pots over coals. It was enough rice to feed all of the students three meals a day for the next week. A Vietnamese man runs the school and lives there with his wife and kids. He didn’t speak any English but the expression on his face was enough for us to understand how grateful he was.

A kitchen.

A kitchen.

Soon enough all of the kids were coming up to us and posing to take pictures while throwing out peace signs and big grins.

Posing at the school.

Posing at the school.

Kids are kids, wherever you go.

Kids are kids, wherever you go.

What will her future be?

What will her future be?

One approached me with a bucket of candy he had gotten from a small boat located directly next to the school that sold the same type of things you find at a gas station convenience store. I wasn’t sure what he wanted me to do. Thanh said, “Buy the small bucket of candy for $3 and give it to the children.” I fumbled through my pocket and pulled together the money and gave it to Thanh. Suddenly, the kids went crazy! They were dancing and laughing and jumping around. As I gave out handfuls of candy the children swarmed me. All those little hands waving in the air trying to get my attention. It was overwhelming. It was like I was a superstar, like I was Angelina Jolie.

Swarming for candy.

Swarming for candy.

Handing out the candy.

Handing out the candy.

In that moment, I thought about my own kids, my own happiness, and about how it was so easy to give. How every day we could do so much more. How thousands of other children were living on that lake. It doesn’t matter if you are rich and famous, or just an average person who works for a living … there is always more you can do to help others. I was so grateful to have the opportunity to help these kids, even if it was small. I looked over at my husband; he was smiling and laughing, and now, so was I.

Happy New Year

… Truly
I try to be good but sometimes
a person just has to break out and
act like the wild and springy thing
one used to be. It’s impossible not
to remember wild and want it back.

—from “Green, Green Is My Sister’s House,” by Mary Oliver, from A Thousand Mornings (2012)

Wild.

Wild.