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11/19/2008

An Irish Tale

She stood on the rocky headland, the breeze off the sea blowing her long red hair back, toward her home, toward the land which had given both of them birth. The green and verdant land her people had lived in for thousands of years, the hills that held the bodies of all her ancestors for uncounted generations. And his. But he had gone into the west. Across the sea. With a promise to return, just not a promise of when.

The shawl she wrapped about her shoulders was made from the wool of sheep, as shepherds her family had always been. And his. A marriage planned long years ago still waited for the day it would be done, and every month children who would never be born passed from her body, as did the time they would never get back.

He grew faint in her memory. She found it hard to remember his look, his touch, the smell of him. Except here. On this, the headland where he had kissed her goodbye. Where last she saw and held him in her arms. Where last she was held in his.

America it was to which he went. To make his fortune, he said. So that they could build a life away from the land. So they could go to the city and live life in a proper house. So they would never have to cut peat to burn. So their children would be raised in warmth and comfort, in soft beds with good food. So they would never have to shear sheep, spend long days in the hills with the herds, suffer the cold and the wet that always seemed to permeate this land. To America he had gone. West, into the wind that blew in her face and drew the tears from her eyes with its bitter chill.

She raised her face and closed her eyes, letting the cold wind wash over her, clinging always to the hope he would return, always fighting the feeling deep inside that she was waiting in vain. That the day would never come. That all this waiting would be for nought and she would wither and fade to an old age of nothing.

So many times she had thought to step out from the headland and let the sea take her. And times would come when it was hard to resist. But she held strong in her faith he would come back and the devil in her which gave her these thoughts would be beat back for another day. And she would smell him, and see him and remember his touch, here on this headland where they had said good bye. And his touch felt strong and a smile came to her as she reached across herself to touch the hand on her shoulder and she knew it was his. And he was home.


The song in my ear? "The Rocks of Bawn" by Arcady. From the compilation CD called 'A Celtic Tapestry'.

23 comments:

Nicole said...

Oh, I'm at loss for words.
Wonderful story. I can smell the wind, feel her feelings and see her hair in the wind.
Wonderful!

Jientje said...

You left me breathless.
I was there, I could feel the touch on my shoulder, and tears were coming to my eyes ...
Beautiful. * sigh*

Eric S. said...

You paint such a wonderful picture. You are truly an artist with words. Nice ending.

www.ayewonder.com said...

I can't tell you personal that was for me but I got goosebumps.

Shadow said...

you're a born storyteller! i was transported to the very cliff...

Anonymous said...

Have you ever stood on a cliff in Ireland? It is exactly like that. Even when it's warm the wind is fierce and pulls your tears and breath away. You captured the mood, the wind and the vastness very well. Great job! - bama Cheryl

Tash said...

You've missed your calling Lou! But it's not too late. Never too late!

Michael said...

Your description of the place and feelings is so realistic, you are a excellent writer, I dont know how you put so much attention to detail, I find myself when writing thinking of what is happening next, I guess with writing too you must live in the moment you are writing about!

Christy said...

Oh, Lou! You're speaking of a tribal memory for me!

I was her in another life.

Her blood runs through me....

hockeychic said...

Wow, I was there, I could feel the wind...for a few minutes I was not sitting at my desk, I was in Ireland.... Thank you for the escape.

Cathy said...

That was really nice--lots of great detail and a whirlwind of emotions.

ma said...

Seriously. Wow. The imagery, the way of putting things, all of it. Wow, Lou, wow. You can write.

Momisodes said...

You took me there. And it nearly brought tears to my eyes to see her longing and hope.

So beautiful, Lou.

I love that you've included the song that has inspired this piece.

Employee No. 3699 said...

What a great distraction from work, as I sit here eating my lunch. Now I'm wondering, did he ever come back for her???

Theresa said...

He'd better come back, the little...

Years of reading irish stories as a child just came flooding back to me :)

Holly at Tropic of Mom said...

Such rich detail! I love it! Thank you for the CD recommendation. Sometimes I like me some Celtic tunes.

Nan said...

You should write some music.

LceeL said...

Nicole: Thank you, Nicole.

Jientje: Thank you, Jientje.

Eric S: Thank you, Eric.

Ayewonder: You should tell your story.

Shadow: Thank you, Shadow.

Bama Cheryl: Yes, I have. Thank you, Cheryl.

Tash: I know. I'm working on it.

Michael: Getting into the moment is an important part of writing fiction.

Christy: I'm glad I could touch the inner you.

Hockeychic: And thank you for the comment.

Cathy: Thank you, Cathy.

Ma: When I saw this comment come to me in my email, I thought "OMG, (not in a good way OMG, either.) it's my MOM." Thank you, Maggie, for not being my MOM and scaring the crap out of me.

Momisodes: Thank you, Sandy. It IS an unusual rendition of the song. Very melancholy as opposed to those who sing it as a jig.

Employee: He did - we covered that offline.

Theresa: You didn't really read the last line, either.

Holly ATOM: I like most of what's on that CD.

Nan: I wouldn't know how to begin.

Loraine said...

Gorgeous.

M+B said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again 'Your stories are amazing'

Cat said...

Amazing imagery - I loved this - Gimmie more?

Cat

Sogeshirtsguy said...

Lou you really know how to paint a vivid picture. I felt i've been to Ireland now even though I haven't ever left North America.

Hyphen Mama said...

Sheesh, at least he could write and let her know what he's up to!

Nicely done.