It was a scary, sobering experience.
First scariness: our paper map was outdated. The trailhead I wanted to use doesn’t exist anymore. The trail seems to be still there, but access isn’t, and we didn’t discover this wonderful fact until after we’d walked for a mile along a narrow main road for twenty minutes. Thanks Obama.
Second scariness: I put blind faith in an incorrect map over what was plain to our eyes. I led us down a steep and dangerous scree field on the east slope, along an imaginary trail, and into trick briars on the lower slope. We made it to Kilmacanogue, but we so easily mightn’t have.
What if the weather turned (it threatened rain all day)?
What if Eadaoin fell (the scree were loose)?
What if there was no access back to the road (we had to navigate by map alone)?
You can see for yourself in the fourth and fifth photographs. I thank the blessed Carl Sagan that my dipshit headstrong approach on the descent didn’t get anyone killed.
My dipshittery still didn’t ruin the day. Eadaoin had to be exhorted to the top of the Sugar Loaf because she convinced herself that the climb was impossible. Her high on making the top would’ve warned the most miserable heart, and Eadaoin’s smile alone made the day worth it.
Aafke kindly invited Eadaoin and I to visit and stay with her on her farm in the first week of August. Kinda funny, the timing, because then there was a background miasma of drama with my ex-wife, and now there is is a background miasma of drama with my ex-wife. Some things endure.
Eadaoin was on her summer holiday from work that week, so the timing of the invite meshed nicely. We took train to Mullingar. Aafke met us here, and left Eadaoin and I to a wander around the town before lunch while she bought her groceries. And then our adventure at Aafke’s house began, although by “adventure” I mean that I worked on code while I drank a lot of coffee. The Tuairisc project is almost finished, so I spent the time offline working.
But — it was wonderful to be there, and out of Dublin for a few days. There’s an awful feeling of of claustrophobia when I work from home in the suburbs. I enjoy a view out of my office window of the verging trees of the golf course across the window, and a view of the Luas stop from our kitchen window. There’s nowhere interesting to go outside of a giant shopping center in Dundrum. Churchtown is a dull suburban landscape that sucks the life out of me.
Aafke has a gorgeous home and was a fantastic host to Eadaoin and I for those two days. Her garden is rich with life and her home warm and alive with the mementos of a life well-spent. It all conveys peace of mind. Eadaoin was in a flowery daze for the two days, and could be found out at all hours in all weather shooting flowers.
On Friday Eadaoin had her turn filling out Aafke’s guest book before we went back to Dublin.
Aafke, thank you again for hosting us (and sorry I’ve been silent for the last few weeks; work is work :( ).