I woke way before dawn today and again my heart was telling me lies. Before I had the morning tea, my head began to remind me how old I was. The sadness washed over me like the Scottish rain in the Highlands. I had been in a state of solitude for half of my life and it looked like the other half was headed that way. I had a stone house I had built and a sturdy farm horse. As always, I planted a sumptuous garden, as blooms are food for the eyes.
I needed to take a long walk to leave this sadness in the bog. I took the rock fence route, built with stones I had cleared from the garden and along the long fence where the horses grazed. My setters pranced into a lope across the field sniffing every spot and pointing at a bird once in awhile. I began to sing to my pups an old Gaelic song my grandfather taught me. He died alone, his wife gone way before him, and I watched him fade a little each day as I felt I was doing now.
As I came up the hill, I begin to hear a pennywhistle playing sweetly. It was an old traditional song, so beautiful with a melancholy timbre. I saw no one until I got halfway up the meadow by the stone fence and I realized that the sound was on the other side. I jumped the fence and a dark-haired lass jumped higher than I had. She was frightened. The quietness took over and she couldn't quite look at me. I asked for her name and the beauty with hair of the darkest night and light in her starry eyes, like beams on the shore bringing the fishing boats home, told me, Claire, like County Clare in Ireland but with an “I.”
She finally began to talk and could not stop. Her family had been lost to consumption and she was the only survivor. Everyday, she told me, she came up the meadow and played the whistle in order to draw the attention of a handsome young man who shaved just for himself in the morning and always wore clean walking clothes. An old habit of mine. I had not been drinking the stout for so long that my eyes had taken on the blue of the spring sky and hers were dark and seductive. She told me that her father said with his last breath, that whoever answered the whistle would become her husband.
I was astounded at first at her being so forward. Then I realized that I was there wishing for the same prayer to be answered. Lord, please don't let me die alone. Please bring music back to my house and turn it into a home with the peat burning in the fireplace and a potful of dinner waiting for me to return from my chores, into the arms of one who couldn't take her eyes off mine and when I looked into hers, starry night beams floated gently across the room and tugged at my heart.
I have become young again, always listening for the music, always smelling the lavender, always looking deep into my beloved’s eyes. So I say to you now that when you kiss your divine one, do it with all the passion you feel when you plant flowers for her or clear the garden of stone.
Today, after working hard all day with the horses, I saw her watching me from the doorway and I saw the yearning in her eyes from fifty rods away. She saw me as I felt, young and strong and immortal. I saw her as the Gaelic angel that she is, and as tired as I was, I ran home to have her blessed wings around me.