“Ah, but there are things and things . . .”

The words for the title to this post are from the book Twenty Years A-Growing, and are spoken by Maurice to his grandfather, after Maurice was asked if he believed in something he had not seen while on the mainland for a day of fun away from the Great Blasket Island.  The grandfather says, “No doubt it is hard to believe, but we have to believe many things we never saw.”  And that is when Maurice replies with (my translation), “C’mon Gramps, there is some stuff you don’t see you can accept, but you know, then there is other stuff you say, that is rally hard for me to believe.”

Today, Patricia and I went for a late brunch vegetarian bruchetta - Dublinat the a square in the lively energy of a throbbing Saturday morning in Dublin.   We chose a vegetarian bruchetta – (well, we also had a muffin each before that . . . and a cup of irish coffee after) The bruchetta was delicious.  Patricia could have done without the kernels of maize that were thrown in for fun . . .  but that was OK because the pigeons of the city square were happy with any kernels that made it to the ground in front of us.

It was a spectacular day of sun and warm today, so we decided to take the half-hour train ride (from the Tara Station in Dublin) to Howth, which is described on their map as a “Dublin Coastal Village.”  It is a community a bit to the North of Dublin.  It is kind of like a knob extended from the mainland by a fairly narrow stretch of land, so when you look at a map of Howth it is almost like an Island – surrounded by the sea.  To the east the land climbs to a fine, great height, so you have a magnificent view of the sea and ships and town below, “from on high.”

What a magnificent day for a hike “up the hill.”

Here are a few images to give you a sense of Howth’s extravagant beauty:

lighthouse - Howth

Beautiful view from the cliff – I think looking mostly east, but maybe a little north.

Howth Abbey, St. Marys

Founded in 1042, the remains of the building you see here was built in the 1400’s. There is antiquity galore in this Irish community on the sea.

Howth harbor, Ireland

And there is modernity galore, as well. Magnificent homes along with ships in the harbor..

Upper Cliff Walk - Howth

The vistas were breathtaking. Did you ever say that prayer at the end of the day that begins like this, ” Now at the close of the this day we pause to say thank you for opening our eyes, ears, hands and minds to the ways you are in the world”? We have prayed that prayer tonight!

Seal - Howth harbor

Seemed like this harbor seal was looking right at us.

Christmas Eve - Howth harbor

What fun to name a boat “Christmas Eve” and then use it to ferry tourists from the mainland to an island not far away.

The return trip on the train takes passengers from the beauty of breathing easy in Howth to the pulsing sprawl of the Dublin scrunched with people and buses and row houses and businesses and poverty and homelessness and really old stuff and new stuff and . . .

It’s a ride.

As we were getting ready to board the train we heard  people shrieking on the rides of a carnival that had been set along the harbor, I suppose for the end of summer.  I don’t know what language the riders were shrieking in with glee/terror, but it sounded exactly the same as the sounds I have heard at the Minnesota State Fair, or a county fair, or anywhere people are being tossed about in the air by machines, and paying for the privilege.

No doubt it is hard to believe, in a city as diverse in language as Dublin, I understood the language of the riders even though I don’t know the language in which they screamed.

On the train, facing us in our little booth of four seats were two women engaged in a fairly animated conversation in French.  I did translate one word they spoke to each other, “Oui,” otherwise I didn’t understand a word of their half-hour conversation.  Not too far away was a group of seven or eight 20/30 somethings in an animated conversation in a language Patricia was sure was Russian.  I didn’t understand one word.  We didn’t hear a word of English on the ride that we understood as such, except our words to each other.  The train had a grand gaggle of young teenagers strewn throughout.  In our car there was a very animated group behind us. They were, how do you say, ebullient with the overflow of young teenage joy after having spent the day together in Howth with no adult supervision.  One of the girls got to giggling, and giggling and giggling.  She was bubbling over with an effervescence she could not contain.  The sounds of her joy, echoed throughout our train car.  I have heard that exact joy from other teenagers in other settings.

No doubt it is hard to believe, in a train car of languages foreign to me, I understood this teenage girl, even though I do not know the language in which she giggled.

Ah, but there are things and there are things.

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5 Comments

  1. Wow! What a fascinating ride you’re taking us on. We’re enjoying your daily messages. Lew has a question – he said, “So far we’ve seen pictures of buildings, scenery, redheads, priests, and Patricia, but no pictures of you! Are you really there?” And yes, I pray the evening prayer every night before I go to bed, and the morning prayer when I have my coffee each morning. I should have it memorized by the time we see you again. Here in the place I love and know so well, I still see the beauty.

    Reply

  2. Bernie Hupperts August 18, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    I’m glad that Jane mentioned the prayer. It is in front of me every morning and evening. Tomorrow is the 125th anniversary, and we will be thinking of you for longer than your words last as they come from Phil Jensen’s mouth. Be well!

    Reply

    1. Best wishes to all of the members of the First Church family. We will be thinking about you all this afternoon. Sorry to be missin’ the grand celebration.

      Reply

  3. Phil and Patricia, we will be thinking of you both tomorrow as we celebrate our 125th anniversary! We will miss you, but know what a grand adventure this is for you. I will be honored to share your thoughts and best wishes to our Eagle River church family. Thank you for taking the time to share this journey with your far flung friends. You are in our thoughts and prayers always. Blessings and safe travels!

    Reply

  4. Blessing to all at First Church UCC Eagle River at this lovely time.

    Reply

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