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A Hundred Thousand Welcomes

Late November along the Wild Atlantic Way. My husband is relaxed behind the wheel as we drive, as if he has always known these inverse roads. We only get lost once, when we follow the GPS instead of our instincts. On the radio, the news stations repeat the same five stories. There is only so much bad news.

We hike the rocky islands at Glassilaun Beach that snake into the water, grasping for the horizon like the tentacles of a dormant sea creature. Atop them, we can see for miles: gray sea against gray sky. The wind whips our coats and bites our ears, but there is still further to climb. Why stop when we are walking on water?

In Connemara, the sunlight spins the grass into gold and turns the bogs into mirrors. Nice days are not so seldom as everyone thinks. In the evenings, we return south to stay in Costelloe, in the shadow of the fishing lodge once built for the owner of the Titanic. The nights are dipped in ink, a heavy, irrefutable dark that thumbs our eyelids down into an early sleep. We welcome it, this deep kind of rest that comes from knowing there is nowhere else to be.

My great great grandfather was one of sixteen children born to Irish parents, but one of the few to come to the States. When we linger in county Sligo, where his surname originated, I wonder if I am in the presence of any distant relatives. I recognize myself in the point of people's noses and the roundness of their faces. It all feels so familiar, this place I hardly know. In the vastness, I think there might be room for me, as well. In the stillness, I wish I could belong.

Find short musings like this one over on my new Instagram feed @samduboiswrites.

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