Sunday, March 18, 2012

The luck of the Irish

What a day I had on St. Patrick's Day! I mean how can a colleen complain about a day that included a flat 4 mile run, a creamy pint of Guinness and a vivid voice from the past reminding me who I am?

My day started with The Running of the Green (Island). I remember signing up for the race shortly after I participated in a 3.5 mile New Year's Day run and thinking that 4 miles seemed an awfully long way to run without stopping. Yesterday, though, between the camaraderie of a contingent of green-clad runners, the mild temperature, and the sun breaking through the clouds, it really wasn't too far to go. And that was before Karen and I had decided to celebrate our efforts with a pint.

On a day which typically means excess, particularly in Albany, Karen and I knew we were only having one. Seriously, it wasn't even noon - who the hell did we think we were? Our car pool rendezvous point had been the Corning Preserve parking lot so we headed over to the nearby Olde English thinking (correctly) that we would beat the overindulgent crowd. This was the maiden visit for both of us and we couldn't have been happier. Well, maybe if Matt had been there, but, that aside, it was the ideal spot and I very much look forward to returning on an occasion when I can sample a few more of the offerings.

And - that voice from the past? As is often the case, it came from the most unexpected place. I was tossing some crap out of my basement as I work towards being fully responsible for the condition of my home. There was a box of books that had been residing in the dankness of the cellar for a decade and a half and it was time to "discard"* them. As I removed one, a green envelope slipped out from between the swollen pages. Oddly enough it was a St. Patrick's Day card I received in 1992, my senior year of college. I had spent the first three weeks of that particular year in Ireland getting to know my father's family and was feeling very connected to my heritage. I returned to Albany with a new sense of self and an inner peace that I have done my best to nourish in the 20 years which have passed. The man who gave me the card had included some thoughtful words about my roots and my new found identity. While his words continued to touch me despite all the years which have gone by, what made the largest impact was my forced recollection of who I was then and who I want to be now.

The relationship I shared with that long ago man was romantic and passionate and filled with intensity. And doomed. There was no future in it and an observer to it once characterized it as creating more heat than light. She was right. But, as is consistent with all the human interactions we have, I learned from it and wouldn't be the person I am today without that experience. On a day of firsts, a reminder from the past seemed oddly appropriate and I'll be considering the message far longer than that delicious pint lasted.

*librarian talk for get rid of

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