From the air, in the dark 5:00 morning, Dublin is nothing more than a sheet of lights floating on water, glowing like a Christmas tree. I press my face to the glass, feeling the cold seep onto my forehead. The first time I saw Dublin, the sun was rising over the Irish Sea. The water was glossy and sugary pink, a confection for the eyes. Our plane dipped over a few small islands in the bay, as if it was bowing to the city before us.
This time, we're arriving earlier. We left the sun behind somewhere around Greenland, but it's catching up to us. What a world where I can race the sun and win.
I press my earbuds in and turn on The Pogues. If I should fall from grace with God and no doctor can relieve me. I play it again and again, watching the glittering patchwork quilt of Dublin come closer. I am mesmerized by the kaleidoscope of color and light, adrift on the black dark. For all of the detail visible, I could be anywhere in the world right now, but this time, I am right where I want to be. Hovering over an island of light.
I watch and wait, acutely aware that the minutes that bring me closer will also lead me to another seat in the air, sailing away from this place I love. My heart hurts already as I stare the future in the face. Shane MacGowan's raspy voice sings on. Dublin gets closer. I can't tell now -- are we descending or is the entire city drifting up to meet me?
Let me go, boys. Let me go, boys.
This post was first published on my Irish travel/culture blog, Wild for Ireland.