Dear Adrienne…

The following is a work of fiction based on recent events and experiences in Ireland. 

Dearest Adrienne,

Life in Dingle has been exuberant! I work night shifts now at Adam’s Bar—convenient because I was able to lease a one-room apartment above the taproom. The noise prevents sleep from occurring until around 3:30 am, so I have become rather nocturnal with the exception of working a few odd-jobs as a gardener during the week. As you can imagine, my diet consists mostly of Muesli and highly caffeinated tea.

Life is bustling by and I want to make the most of my young years. Perhaps this is why gardening has become a respite from the rush of the world. The radio gives me additional solace as I am able to listen to it while I pull weeds and plant seeds. Today, I tuned into a fervent debate between a young single-mother and an elderly man about the election to repeal the 8th amendment. The mother said she was voting ‘yes’ because she yearned for her daughter to have more agency over her body. Goodness! My fingers are crossed.

I garden for Mrs. Mahoney, an elderly woman who lives by Dingle Bay and has an affinity for decorative cairns. While working, I often watch the fishermen preparing to harvest a day’s worth of mussels and listen to buoy bells ricocheting in the distance. This afternoon, I was in the middle of overhearing a conversation between two men about the economic state of rural Ireland. One of the men, probably aided by a few pints of Guinness, adamantly announced, “Ya know what the problem is around here? It’s feckin’ lovely, but ya can’t eat the scenery!”

In my amusement, I almost failed to notice one of the tourist’s walking by. She held multiple bags of souvenirs in one hand, cellphone in the other, a knick-knacky trinity cross necklace swinging around her neck. She talked obnoxiously, feet stomping the cobblestone and I watched, transfixed by her rowdy demeanor. Then I saw it: a delicate butterfly that had paused to rest on the ground—directly in the path of the tourist. “Wait!” I called out to her, “Be careful! Don’t—” but it was too late. She stomped directly on this beautiful creature, crushing it with carelessness. I ran to the bug as the woman rambled away down the road. Its body lay near a gutter.

I’ve been noticing how oblivious we have become to our natural world. I too, have become detached, working at the bar, filling glass after glass. Charlie, who works night shifts as well has been pestering me to perform one of my poems as a party piece. Perhaps tonight I’ll compose something about that butterfly. Mother always wondered why I chose to garden. I would tell her, because it gives me time to grow my thoughts into words. Oh my, I’ve been running on. I hope you are well and please do take care.

All my love,