It is, or was, Easter Monday, the anniversary of The Rising. What did I do to celebrate? I don’t know? Did I celebrate subconsciously? Did I mark the day when Irish people stood up and said ‘I did not sit idly by while...’ by sitting idly by?
How do we celebrate such things?
Our ability and our want to celebrate such undeniably celebratory anniversaries are both frustratingly unquantifiable (for reasons I won’t go into right now). We don’t know what we should do. We don’t know whether doing something significant is too much, especially when we notice that most people.... do something insignificant – something having more resemblance to doing nothing than doing something special.
Today, as we were driving through my beautiful, wild county of Donegal, we passed by an obvious procession. A commemoration by a concrete cross. I sensed that it was something significant. Something celebrating the importance of this day, of this date, of history. Something I should stop for, witness, reflect, embrace, respect. Yet, we didn’t. We drove by. We drove by, somewhat convincing our ‘ignorance’ – as I would call it, I suppose – that we shouldn’t stop simply because we did not know what was going on or we didn’t know that such a thing would be going on.
And I thought: of all the sites we saw today; the great views, the harbours, the grassy roads, of all the permanent sites that make the place, what most connects us to this place is what we, as a people, have done here. We didn’t make these views, we didn’t form this inlet, we didn’t grow this grass. But, we erected this cross. Not because of the landscape. We erected this cross in this landscape to celebrate a unique occurrence and not a universal permanence.
We should have stopped. For, if I were to return tomorrow, the grassy road will still be there, as will the cross... but the commemoration has passed. And I had missed it.