Every year about this time I get homesick for fuchsias. In 2007 I spent several weeks in Ireland and, for many reasons, everything associated with that trip has wrapped itself around my heartstrings. Fuchsias grow wild there. For a Texas girl, and one who has spent her entire life in the very not-moderate climate of the Midwest or Southern part of the U.S., the moderate climate on the Eastern coast of Ireland, south of Dublin in Glendalough where I based, was heaven. People kept apologizing to me that spring because it rained so much (it even snowed my first day there, up in the Sally Gap). No need. The lush greens and the music of rain falling and streams gurgling as I walked was like something out of a dream.
The friend I stayed with had a huge fuchsia bush in the back garden. Every year, from what I understand, he cuts it back severely and it regrows, sending forth hundreds of small purple and red flowers. Even hybrid fuchsias do well in window boxes and planters. I spent a lot of time sketching and drawing. I remember sitting on the front porch, focused on the flowers, hearing voices in many languages as people walked or biked past the house. I heard the sound of sheep in the pasture across the road and the sound of rain falling now and again on the roof of the porch where I sat.
It was one of the only times I remember feeling so connected and so free. I miss it. I want to go back. And yet, time has passed, things have changed, and the Ireland I knew, the place created through the relationships and circumstances of that time doesn’t exist. I’ve never had much luck going back someplace. I’m always disappointed. But I’d like to try.
(© Karen Opp. All rights reserved.)