About thirteen years ago, I awoke, on a rare sunny Galway morning, with the memory of a great dream playing through my cerebral cinema. It was one of those dreams that keeps you in a fabulous mood all day, and even all these years later, is as vivid today as it was on that morning. It was around the time that the idea of moving to the U.S. was gaining some traction in my mind. I was living with my girlfriend, Clair, and both of us thought it might be fun to try the U.S. for a spell. To any of our friends this must have seemed idiotic as we were already growing apart, we just didn't know it yet. Or at least I didn't. She was always faster on the uptake than I was and the idea of changing venue was a short-acting salve on a crumbling relationship.
The dream was a simple one: it's early morning and I'm on a bike, a nice road bike, smooth and fast, and I am cycling along a flat road with no other traffic. Although I am cruising at a good clip, I'm not in a hurry. There is nowhere I have to be. I know the Pacific Ocean is on my right. I know it's there even though I can't see it. It's obscured by sand dunes and high grass. On my left is an industrial tableau of short, squat, one storied buildings, but it's more interesting than ugly. The weather is perfect, pristine blue skies, warm but not humid. I am intensely happy, that unusual elevated sense of well being where the world is perfect and everything is as it should be.
I awoke convinced that the dream was a message that the idea of moving to the U.S. was the right thing to do. I am a pretty logical person and not normally susceptible to such flights of fancy, but this felt so right. But the idea of moving to California had never really occured to me, I had never even been there so it was strange that I knew I was in California in the dream. Over the next year while my green card was in process, Clair and I inevitably split up. We both knew it was for the best, our relationship was played out, and although it had been wonderful for four years, it was making us miserable. I still felt, though, like my anchor had been cut. I alternated between wanting to stay and go, but I knew if I left, I was going to California, specifically to San Francisco. Eventually things fell into place. My friend Conor also got a green card, and another friend was getting married in Rhode Island, so we decided to stay after the wedding. On top of that, it turned out an American friend had moved to San Francisco and needed two roommates. The fates were in motion.
One of the first things I did when I arrived was to visit Ocean Beach and marvel at the size of the surf. I immediately noticed that on the south end of the beach, the beach is hidden by sand dunes and high grass, and the buildings on the left, although residential as opposed industrial, resembled my dreamscape.
This is on my mind because, well, life is good. My tiny new son is angelic, my two other kids, while little toddler monsters sometimes, are cute, curious, smart, and affectionate. And having a wonderful wife doesn't hurt either. I may not have become a famous rockstar, but I really can't complain and my album may actually be finished soon (watch for a post). We are very aware that although this is an intense time of life, we'll be wistful for the times when our little kids craved being around their parents, so we're doing our best to enjoy it while we can.
The Irish in me rails against admitting good fortune. Our DNA has been changed by centuries of oppression that taught us not to enjoy any riches we might have because they will be taken away. Natasha has often chided my response when someone asks, "How are things ?" and I never fail to respond, "Not too bad." "Why can't you just answer that things are good?" she says.
I just bought a new road bike; my old one is ancient and heavy. The new one is a nineteen pound carbon fibre beauty. Everytime I ride it, I relive the dream. That's a pretty good deal.