It was a long three hour drive on a full, loud tour bus with (too) many stops. My neck was sore and I was tired. As the scenery of Ireland passed by, I had a lot of time to think about some personal issues, to stress about work, review all of my uncertainties, wonder what I was doing with my life… All of the things that had been on my mind for months before and were part of why I needed this trip.
By the time we reached the cliffs, I was feeling frustrated, wound up and just over it. If you can believe it, I got off the bus and thought to myself, “Who cares. Just get it over with, look at the cliffs and check this off the list.” I just wanted to go through the motions like all of the other tourists and move on to the next stop. At that moment, I wasn’t excited about being there anymore.
So I climbed the steps, looked over at the cliffs and took photos (that I felt obligated to take – this also frustrated me). I was grumpy about not being able to get the right camera settings and could tell my exposure was off but no matter what I changed, it wasn’t getting better. I sighed and followed the crowd around O’Brien’s Tower, then decided to follow the trail across, through a gate and away from the crowd.
Suddenly, I found myself alone.
I found myself surrounded by vivid shades of blue, white, brown and green (so many greens!) in the bright, refreshing, post-rain sunshine. It only took a few seconds through that gate and suddenly I was surrounded by silence with only the sounds of the crashing waves to keep me company. All I could smell was the fresh, ocean air.
In that moment, I felt my shoulders relax. And suddenly I could breathe.