Boston, July 2019
Ireland to America. State-to-States. What kind of a state am I in, in Boston’s heat and crush after Ireland’s fresh winds and rural-quiet? Adjusting: in mind and body, alert to change, glad of familiar signifiers and the hospitality of family; joining the known with the unknown.
After two scorching weeks in the US there has been rain, a tornado along the east coast – that ripped roofs from buildings at Cape Cod, a favourite holiday destination for Bostonians – and a welcome drop in temperature. But, politics is burning up, following Robert Mueller’s report – on the Russian interference in the 2016 election – to the Judiciary committee, which I watched on TV for 3 hours. He was inscrutable and restrained under fire from Republicans attempting to demolish his defence and Democrats moving to sure up his case for the President’s lying about collusion with Russians.
A few weeks before ‘entering’ the States I visited Belfast during preparations for ‘the 12th’, the day in July when the ghost of William of Orange returns and Northern Ireland is again – at least more visibly – snapped in two. Unionist and Protestant iconography proliferate in designated suburbs and towns to commemorate The Battle of the Boyne of 1691: Orange bunting, the Union flag (Union Jack), the Ulster flag bearing the cross of St George and the red hand of Ulster, banners across streets – ‘safe home brethren’ – and marching pipe bands.
The blood seemed to boil over into every cell of my imagination, so that I was relieved to return to Donegal, and then to the bustle of Boston and finally to home in slow Tasmania.