Homeward boundJul 11th, 2008 | By Ian Poulton | Category: Personal Columns
The packing is almost complete. The guest room in which we have been staying must be vacated by 1030 in the morning.
Bags that have been carelessly filled over the past two weeks have been packed with care; they face handlers in Vancouver, Amsterdam and Dublin.
The flight leaves at 1855 tomorrow; that will be 0255 in Dublin.
One July evening ten years ago, we made the same journey. There was a deep melancholy at the end of our first visit to Canada; an uneasiness about returning to a parish in Northern Ireland where I had attempted to bring change and had brought the roof on my head.
Heading eastwards into the darkness with the last of the evening sun far to the west, I looked down onto the Canadian Prairies with a great sadness.
The arrival home brought with it news of troubles at Drumcree, of sectarian killings and of the bitterness with which the community was riven.
Canada had shown a different life was possible. The Canadian church people we encountered actually thought we had come job hunting. Canada was not an option, but Dublin was. Within three months of that eastward flight, we were preparing to move southwards.
Flying east tomorrow night, I will look down on the Prairies (clouds permitting) and be thankful for the sadness of that flight ten years ago, for without the sadness there could not have been the happiness of these past years.