10 Feet Tall

OK, I’m going to have to retract my promise in the former post. I do not actually have a load of pictures to share – YET – because I’m back at the nanny job and I have to edit all those images to a smaller size so they’ll upload quicker. Be patient, my pretties, I will post them this weekend if I have to stay up all night!!!

In the meantime, I thought I’d share this bit I wrote last night after traveling back to Dublin for work. Enjoy!

* * * * *

Dublin Bus

It’s my first time riding the upper deck of a double-decker bus. We’re driving through Dublin on this spectacular Spring evening and I’m mentally noting things to write about later, afraid that if I tear my attention from it for even a few seconds to scrawl down my thoughts, I might miss something.

Smart Frank figured out how to download MP3s to my phone, so I’ve been listening to sermon podcasts from my former minister in Indianapolis. As we drove down through the sparkling green hills between Drogheda and Dublin, I heard the words of God and was glad.

But now I’m only listening to the sounds around me on this second bus – I change at O’Connell Street, right in the city centre of Dublin, past huge statues of famous forefathers, the historic General Post Office and the Spire. I always wish I had left more time to explore.

This time when boarding the double-decker city bus, I know to bring exact change and how much it will be. The driver nods his approval and I feel a rush of pleasure at knowing I did it right this time.

As we travel along, stopping every few blocks, I get a flavor of all the sights, the kind that keep tourists’ mouths watering. We pass Trinity College, Grafton Street and St. Stephen’s Green, catch glimpses of Temple Bar and all the quays as we cross the river and look down on all the bridges. Then there are the museums, libraries, galleries and concert halls.

From my perch 10 feet in the air I enjoy seeing the colourful pubs on every corner, the shops and chippers and old graveyards with their crooked teeth headstones. I like thinking of all the people who live above the streets in their tiny, expensive apartments. Nearly every window has a lace curtain and nearly every door has a glossy coat of paint and a large brass knob adorning the centre. I think about all that these brick buildings have seen and the lives they’ve held. Most of them are probably older than half the United States and have stood through The Troubles, World Wars and The Great Famine, along with raids, celebrations, funeral marches and the transition from horses and buggies to cars, trains and buses like mine.

I admire the natural beauties of the city, too. Each fenced-in garden has velvety grass, lush shrubs and tulips or roses. The streams through the city are still, reflecting the clouds and the setting sun. I am at eye level with the trees and I see buds on the taller trees just about to pop open, high above the shorter, craggy trees with their heavy pink bloom clusters hanging like ripe fruit. Plus there are tulip trees, cherry blossoms and a dozen other kinds of flowering trees I don’t know. I’ve seen ducks and swans tonight, and the occasional magpie, though I’ve learned now that I must always look for two of that bird! (see below)

The bus holds mostly students and I hear different languages carrying on loud cell phone conversations. As we boarded the bus and pulled away from the curb, a young girl across the aisle was startled when a group of boys from the top deck of another bus tossed pebbles at her window. Then she realized they were friends as they passed us, making faces and laughing. She covered her mouth with her scarf and laughed, too.

The woman in front of me sips a can of beer wearily. It’s still odd for me to see someone openly drinking on a bus, or a train for that matter. I don’t invade her method of relaxation long with my curious eyes. She’s not a bother, unlike the groups of men out with their mates who sometimes drink loudly together on the trains.

I’ve seen a lot of people board and leave the bus tonight – lads with their worn hurley sticks, mothers with their children, travelers with their luggage, lovers arm-in-arm. Now it’s my turn, as we’ve driven through Donnybrook and passed University College Dublin to pull aside on Stillorgan Road.

It’s still light as I pull my little wheeled bad up the street to the house where I’m nanny. I take a few extra moments to enjoy the quiet of the neighborhood after the noise of my transport, and I continue to enjoy the trees and flowers in bloom on my way. I see a mountain in front of me, a welcome sight to anyone reared in the American Rockies, and I know if I keep heading up the hill as far as the park, I will see the Irish Sea.

But I stop and turn into the right driveway of the yellow pebbled ash house in which I live during the week. I turn my cell phone to vibrate, put away the noisy wheels of my suitcase and wave at a little smiling face in the window.

It’s time to go back to work.

* * * * *

The magpie reference above can be explained by this poem, which is adhered to by many in Ireland.

One for sorrow,
Two for joy,
Three for a girl,
Four for a boy,
Five for silver,
Six for gold,
Seven for a secret
Never to be told.


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