Independence Day

Upon reflection, amid pondering pauses in the rattling din of the minibus leaping over the harsh curves and lumps in the road toward Donegal, the Americans among us realized that this very well may be the first 4th of July spent out of the USA. It’s a little bit of a weird feeling, wanting to celebrate your country’s independence but then realizing that… you’re a long ways away. July 4th is just another day in Ireland. We couldn’t get fireworks, it’s not legal in the area, but we still wanted to make the day special, we just weren’t sure how. That day we visited the home of the Mannerings, two of which are on the walk with us. The sun was going down, shedding a golden hue over the view from the house, it was breathtaking. A large gaggle of us then trudged up a hill behind the house to reach a lake that rested behind it (I nearly died, weeks of walking doesn’t lend itself to prancing up a steep, large hill with sprightly exuberance). Upon reaching the lake, which was positively gorgeous, non of us were surprised when Tony suggested jumping in it. (You see, Tony seems to want to jump into every lake we pass by). However, having done nothing for the 4th of July, we all decided that for some reason jumping into a hypothermia-inducing lake was a suitable replacement for fireworks. It seemed to make sense at the time. So we did. And it was cold. That being said, the opportunity to swim in a beautiful lake at sundown in the hills of Donegal is, as some Americans would say, awesomesauce. That was how we celebrated Independence Day across the Atlantic, any pangs for home quelled by remembering why we’re here. Indeed, we must always do our best in the rough spots to remember that this journey isn’t about us. We’re here to speak and be seen on behalf of those who cannot, and our hardships are all a part of what we’re here to do.

God bless America, Ireland, and Australia, for all us here on the Ireland walk.

~Caitlin Christianson