When someone tells me the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, I always correct them by stating unequivocally that the grass is most certainly greener in the land of my birth. Ireland is poetically known as the Emerald Isle for very good reason. I would even claim that Johnny Cash underestimated the variety of green on display in the land of faeries and leprechauns when he sang of the forty shades.
In these travel restricted times, I have often found myself dreaming of greener grass more than is good for me. Of course, I understand the concept, the metaphor. Wanting something we can’t have, being somewhere we can’t be or with someone we miss or haven’t seen for a long time, is part of the human condition.
Plans and dreams
When I have my regular catch-up chats with Julia, a dear friend who lives on the other side of the world, and about whom I wrote in a previous blog, https://suetredget.com/long-distance-friendship/ we love to make fanciful travel plans for a future beyond COVID. We have stuck to the plan outlined in the blog and what joy it has brought us. One weekend each month we set aside an hour or two to talk and remember and dream and laugh and cry and everything in between.
We’ll hire a convertible and drive along the Côte d’Azur, stylish sunglasses in place, hair flying in the breeze, à la Thelma and Louise, except we won’t drive over a cliff or be sucked into dangerous liaisons with Brad Pitt lookalikes – or maybe we will – the latter I mean, not the cliff part.
We’ll walk sections of the Camino de Santiago or the Via Francigena, refreshing ourselves between stages with luxury stays on Galician or Tuscan hillsides. We’ll ride horses bareback across the wide Camargue landscape and eat freshly shucked oysters in picturesque fishing villages. (I’m allergic to horses and once ate an oyster in Paris that made me very sick, but it’s my dream, reality does not apply).
A change of perspective
Dreams and the colours of Ireland aside, I was intrigued to hear recently on a podcast (how good are podcasts? – they’ve kept me sane this past year) that grass does actually appear greener, not just in Ireland, but if viewed from a different angle and from a greater distance. If we look down at the grass beneath our feet we see the soil between the blades, and the imperfections; we don’t see an even carpet of green.
But if we look over the fence to our neighbours neatly mown lawn, those imperfections disappear, making the green effect more intense. So, the phenomenon is real, the cliché holds true. The grass really is greener on the other side.
I have recently been inspired by the global culinary exploits of another kindred spirit on the other side of the world, https://www.instagram.com/ditch_the_dull_space/, also featured in my recent blog On Friendship and Music https://suetredget.com/the-power-of-music-lifelong-friendship-reconnection-joy-and-sorrow/. In the quest for greener grass, I will be following her example and indulging in a spot of mind travel, of the non-culinary variety, on Instagram over the coming weeks. I would love you to join me https://www.instagram.com/suetredgetauthor/
First stop, you’ve guessed it, the Emerald Isle, particularly the northern part where I spent my childhood amongst magical glens, rolling hills and babbling brooks, on sweeping beaches, wild headlands and very green grass. If you look closely at the photographs you may see a faery or two dancing in the undergrowth, or a leprechaun tap tap tapping on a new pair of shoes beneath the trees.
Il faut cultiver son jardin
As long as we don’t forget to water our own grass, to tend to our own lawns, to cultiver notre jardin as Voltaire advised, it does no real harm to dream, to imagine a day or even a life in another part of the world. Such musing is natural when travel is in your blood, when you are lucky enough to call more than one place home.
To all my friends, both near and far, I look forward to the day when we can meet again, when we can walk together once more along familiar paths and explore the many new ones just waiting to be discovered.
But right now, I need to mow my lawn. Slán go fóill!
An Irish blessing
May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be always at your back, may the sun shine warm on your face, the rains fall soft upon your fields, and until we meet again, may God (or your version of him or her) hold you in the palm of his (or her) hand.
If you enjoyed this tale you can read more about the places I call home, my travels, my friends and my love for Ireland in my book, Changing Lightbulbs, available here https://suetredget.com/shop/ or on all digital platforms in paperback and Kindle form.