The common wonder of the drive with my dad back from Leonard Cohen at Lissadell
Family Fortunes: In my mind our drive home lasted hours and hours and the night went on for days
Cohen sang to the stars that night. With a playful sense of the sacrosanct, swept us away to a place that truly felt like the still point of the turning world. Photograph: Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images
Childhood mountain hunts in search of giants. Starry hilltops and winter shorelines. Night time thrusts across central Spanish plains and wayward lanes found only when lost. The road to and from the match, emotionally undone for better or worse. My memories of my Dad are bound up with the journeys we’ve made together.
To the sound of whatever I’d most recently found in his CD collection – like many others, I’ve grown up to many of the same words and tunes my Dad did. Springsteen, Dylan, The Stones, that Yiddish ukelele player, who despite myself, never really did it for me.
Leonard Cohen. When I think of our journeys I think of Cohen. Maybe it’s Cohen’s way with the duality of things – with him the tenderness always earthy, the light indivisible from the dark, the beauty comes a little frayed and faded – but when I think of our journeys I think of that singer.
They were made for some reason other than to reach any particular place. When Cohen then made his way west to Lissadell we didn’t think but to follow.
Cohen sang to the stars that night. With a playful sense of the sacrosanct, swept us away to a place that truly felt like the still point of the turning world. A place where some understanding was grasped that everything must fall away. Somehow, that night, that was okay.
“All things fall apart, the centre will not hold.” Maybe it’s not supposed to. Maybe that’s the point. Some quiet glory in that we have it all. In who we get to share it with.
In my mind our drive home from Lissadell afterwards lasted hours and hours and the night went on for days; The road seeming as endless as our time to explore it newly precious. It wasn’t of course – endless. We reached home as Sliabh na mBán appeared in the first wash of early dawn. But that night I didn’t care how long we drove for, where we went or didn’t go. All I cared for that night was who I’d spent it with. The common wonder of it.