The Murphys


At an early age I had come to believe that a vacation was supposed to be about re-creating myself. Through others. In a place where I was a stranger.

To try to see the future through the past, for the most part I went to places to learn the past. The past was that ocean that I tried to steer my own ship in everyday life. Sometimes the waves got a bit rough.

At the age of 32, I made my first trip alone to a foreign nation. When travel could be a lonely experience. Especially when I did not know more than a few words of the local tongue.

Previously, I had spent a week on the Carribean, at a younger age, in my last vacation which seemed to have little change on my consciousness, 25 years ago. A young resident in his post medical school training had issued these behind the ear patches that all of us might avoid seasickness. At the table that I shared on the ship was the Murphy family from Boston. One of the Murphys failed to show up for any meal until day five of the voyage. I thought of her when I shared a pint in the Aran Islands with another woman named Murphy, as I looked for my own land legs after a 45 minute ferry ride on ocean waters which had reached the top of the ferry.

The man on my left on the ferry did not suffer the loss of his equilibrium on the ferry crossing to the Inishmore. He offered advice later when we hit land that I should have kept my eyes open. At the time I just did not want to look. The question is still lingering whether to keep your eyes open when you were overcome by seasickness.

At breakfast I had met this Murphy from Toronto who was doing research for a theatrical production about “The Great Famine.” Per fate, she was immersed for 4 weeks into research on the Great Famine. The only reason I had been in Ireland was because of the same Great Famine. She had discussed her plans for the day to catch the 10:30 am ferry to Inishmore.

Ireland had been the locale of my first European vacation. The Great Famine was the only reason I was a stranger there. My other seven trips to the continent since that first Irish trip had focused to a small part on the Holocaust.

Where my mind this month has been on Ireland, per chance, I had come across a PBS show last night about the 2 Jews who escaped from Auschwitz, to tell all the world what was going on. This was after hearing a panel discussion at a library event for which I had had volunteered with real Holocaust survivors on Super Bowl Sunday at the local library.

Re-creation was never supposed to be strictly about leisure, I have long come to believe. Re-creation was a lot like sleep, or a lot like education. When consciousness changes, beyond myself.

When the vacation was over, in finding myself back in a place where I was not a stranger, in my consciousness. Reflecting on how anyone could stare into the history day after day of Famine; or of a Holocaust which had tried to destroy a people. Was it much different than trying to decide to keep your eyes open when you were seasick?

I had come home from Ireland two weeks ago. Reviewing the photographs. of a dog named Guinness, I thought about how quickly the seas, the environment, could change my own awareness, my own well being. I was still searching for the answer whether to keep your eyes open when you were overcome by seasickness. When the world changed so fast, and I had no control over my own equilibrium in a world in such great need of re-creating.

A possible detached retina can disrupt a blog. Everyone should check out symptoms as soon as possible, even before you connect all the things of the past few weeks. Because whether keeping your own eyes open, or shutting the eyes, the problem was still there.
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