One night a few years ago I had the chance to walk with my young niece.
It wasn’t just any walk. It was very special. To me.
We were in Ireland. On Inishmore. Or Inis Mor. Or Inishmor (I don’t know how to use the accent mark. My apologies.)
She was the youngest of the group of us traveling off and on together. She had her little jacket tied around her waist. It was kind of warm. It was kind of light. Then it was kind of dark. It was kind of awesome.
I remember walking on the road, close to the ocean. I remember turning up a road that we pretty much figured had a good chance of taking us back where we had come from.
I remember walking and thinking, as I always do when in Ireland, I have to keep this moment. I have to make sure it stays in my head. I have to make sure it is forever real. Not just when I’m walking now. Forever. I want this to be something I can remember and relive.
We had cows on that walk. Salty air. Breezy winds.
We talked. About Ireland. About the trip.
I didn’t want the walk to end. I wanted her to know how incredible it was to be walking the very steps her great grandparents walked. Now her father. Now her self. I wanted this place to matter to her. I wanted her to fall in love with the legends and the lore. All over Ireland we walked around ‘ruins’ and discovered Ireland’s very old world. I loved it. I wanted her and her sister to love it. But this walk….we knew we had come back to some place special. Faces greeted us that seemed familiar. Family welcomed us like we ourselves had left on the boat so many years ago. Not to be seen again until this visit.
I wanted it to be a treasure for her, that she could walk that walk. Breath that air. Love this place. I think about that walk often. I feel the soft, dark air. The ocean plays in my mind like music to our meandering.
I saw this little niece yesterday. She’s older. Has returned to Ireland numerous times. Alas, not with me. I tease her and her sister about their favorite trip to Ireland to which they always respond with a tolerating smile “with you of course”.
I hope if nothing else, her little self remembers that walk.
Like I do.