Yellow rear number plates on the M50 – a rare sight in these times. The vehicles turned toward the city, presumably bound for Dublin port. It is hard to imagine other destinations on this night when the car dashboard was flashing warnings of icy roads and when the rain was mixed with sleet.
To be in Dublin port at the dog end of March, though, where would you be going?
A car would be necessary and with a car you could go anywhere. To sit in Dublin port on real spring evening with the light lingering in the western sky and there being a hint of warmth in the air. To sit waiting to board with the chance to go anywhere that took your fancy, it would be the stuff of dreams.
The stuff of dreams? From where do the words come? Reading lines from Shakespeare’s The Tempest too often.
Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d tow’rs, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.
We are such stuff as dreams are made on.
Being past sixty, the dreams are insubstantial these days. More glimpses of something different than dreams of a dreamlike quality. Dreams are of moments like sitting in the car park waiting for a cross channel ferry on a balmy summer’s evening; driving south on an anonymous autoroute surrounded by rolling wooded countryside; hearing Basque voices cheer the XVs of Bayonne or Biarritz; feeling the warmth of morning sunshine in Dordogne villages.
Dreams now are without ambition, they are reclusive, quiet, eirenic, insubstantial.
There was a dream for years of having income enough to rent a small house in the Midi and live on a diet of baguette, brie and vin de pays, while contemplating.
But what would there be to contemplate – passing years, unfinished work, a lack of achievement, life rounded with a sleep?
Dreams assuming substance shift from poetry to prose; from a hundred possibilities to a single reality.
To board the ferry on a night in March would risk sailing out into a rough Irish Sea, risk the extreme unpleasantness of seasickness.
Let the yellow number plates return from whence they came, there is work to prepare for Fifth Year in the morning.