Month: March 2019

Portrush

Portrush

I wasn’t at all sure I felt at ease when I first arrived – it was very gray outside, bit rainy – the houses seemed empty and faded, and the ocean has a loud voice that’s quite different from the coasts I’ve visited thus far.
 
But as soon as I turned a corner along the walkway and saw a little bench set beneath the yellow gorse flowers, something shifted and I felt genuinely happy to be there, not wary any more. (Actually, the only thing I brought back for myself from Northern Ireland were those little yellow flowers, pressed in the pages of my blue journal, and now set in a locket.)
I sensed that the houses and cottages along the way weren’t empty and faded after all – they were stalwart and strong and weather-worn from years of relentless sea-gales, and I liked them for that. The ocean was certainly loud, and I wasn’t nearly acquainted enough to brave putting my feet in the water this time – but the roaring wasn’t threatening, just bombastic and rather a show-off in its powerful beauty. The gray gave way often enough to fair skies and rainbows, and the ferocious wind that came and went wasn’t so much miserable as it was mischievous. I preferred the volume of fewer people & dogs walking along the Ramore Head – preferred it to the more congested bits of Belfast. (Though, to be fair, I didn’t wander long enough in Belfast to get a good grasp of her character, and I ought not judge this time around.)
I had very hard conversations with the Lord as I walked the Giant’s Causeway – hard for me, anyway, because I had heavy questions. His answers surprised me in their grace and simple love. So I darted to-and-fro in the big lichen-y rocks and found all manner of tiny beauties and colors, and I knew He delighted in the rambling as well. 
 
I was right proud of myself for driving on my own. Other side of the road and everything. Hooked up the iPhone and sang along with Gordon Lightfoot and America, pulled over many a time to walk a bit in the grass and just breathe. I hadn’t tasted air like that before, though it put me strongly in mind of my uncle’s small farm in southwest Louisiana – damp, a bit livestocky, old, green.
 
I want to go back to Portrush, and take more time along the coast when I go back. Hoping to go back, that is. A few weeks ago my soul was in pieces and the sharp edges needed examining – Northern Ireland was a safe and beautiful place for me to take refuge, start putting those pieces back together.