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Fall is the season of death. And so it has been.

Its now 40 days since Paco’s death. 40 days since death became real to me. That is to say that for 25 years I dealt with death in what I suppose is a classically childish way…its something that happens to people, but at arms length. Now I’ve put away childish things, I suppose, and can see death as the thing most people come to see it as at a much earlier age. Death is real, it is possible at any moment, and it is all around us.

It seems since August 14 I can’t stop staring at death, like a disfigurement in someone that you wish you didn’t feel compelled to look at. Ted Kennedy, a former pastor, a friend’s mother, and a relentless list of celebrities (Michael Jackson, Farah Faucett, Patrick Swazee…)

There are worse places to process life’s finite nature than Galway, where I find myself now. Fall doesn’t seem so teeming with death and decay when everything is green. Its easier to remember the cycle of things–that underneath the autumn leaves are buds waiting to be blossoms in a new day.

They say Galway is the “place where ambition comes to die”. And, I can see why. Our travel book, in its description of Galway, says, “Attractiveness is the city’s main attraction, and you can spend a pleasant day simply following the many pedestrian lanes and riverside and bayside walks.” In our first two weeks here, we’ve found this to be true. I have simply never set foot in a place so pleasant, so communal, and so demanding of deep thought and reflection than this town. In one 5 minute loop from our front door I can say hello to swans along the River Corrib, pass a bridge where Jame’s Joyce’s wife Nora walked daily as a child, step into the sanctuary of a church built in 1320 where Christopher Columbus is said to have prayed before crossing the Atlantic to discover the New World, and withdrawal cash from an ATM at a bank that is housed within the medieval Lynch’s Castle where the term “lynching” got its name. The history here is long, complex, and visible.

One part of realizing our own mortality (in other words, maturing), I think, is to realize truly good moments in life. The past two weeks–as we begin our lives here–have been one big good moment. Another part of maturing, I think, is to begin speculating about what causes particular good moments in life…both with an eye on re-creating similar conditions in the future, and on expressing gratitude to people connected to the causes.

So far, I’ve come up with two causes of this current one. 1) Marry up 2) Take on debt.

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