Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Epistle to Erin

Published Oct. 28, 2008
Erin,
After years of near estrangement, we are again an item. We once again consort in public, and friends remark on our compatibility. It’s a welcome change after those dark days when you had become a stranger to me.
When I met you, I loved everything about you, as is so often the case with new love. I attended every party where I could find you, and we held long, intimate conversations as I learned every nuance of your Irish heritage, your family background and relatives, your lilting dancing, and your lovely Irish accent. We drank beer as we communed, and I learned to love Guinness, that dark liquid stout so symbolic of Ireland, and the occasional Irish whiskey. We attended music festivals and dances, and we were inseparable.

But we reached a time when I grew bored with you. Everything you said began to sound the same, and I tired of your Irish accent that once so liltingly lifted my spirit. I began to cavort with Virginia, and even with her daughters, while you sat in the corner, solemn, quiet and neglected.
Virginia was fun for a while, but she was stately and courtly, and I began to long for your sparkle and fire. When I took you out three years ago, after five years apart, we were awkward and unsure of each other. We were nearly strangers, and I feared that what we once had had fled and that only nostalgia remained, and I long ago learned that nostalgia can carry a relationship only so far. When the reminiscing is done, all that remains is a pale shade of the past fire.
But something told me that our relationship held promise, and, after some false starts and long lapses in which we again nearly lost touch, we began to rediscover that old magic. It took time. We held long talks at home before spending much time in public, and we slowly found that which had united us at the start.
Now we’re starting to promenade again, and the joy is back. We’ve begun attending a monthly dance and occasional music parties, and my spirit soars when our souls unite. We’re playing jigs, hornpipes, polkas and waltzes, and you’re coaching me on reels, that most difficult of Irish dances that convinced me long ago that I was American, not Irish, not realizing that their mastery is merely of matter of concerted effort. You’re helping me to learn, and I continue to progress.
We have toured many areas of Ireland through our studies, and you wait patiently when I occasionally step out with Caledonia or Anglia or Cymru or Virginia, or even Iberia, because you and I understand that a healthy relationship at times requires time apart. But I always return to you, because over the years I have come to know you well, and I came to understand during our estrangement that your presence infuses my essence. You are my soul mate, brought to this melting pot land by the sons and daughters of that fabled, mystic green island. You are the music of Ireland, and when I put bow to my violin we are one.

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