I sat down with a coffee at 5.00am this morning fearing that I would struggle to select a topic to write about on my blog today. Maybe deciding to join the 30 day “Blog like Crazy” gang wasn’t such a good idea after all. So I began to think that it might be helpful to look to some of the other sites I follow, for some seeds of inspiration.
As I scanned down this list of sites, a picture of Irish singer “Enya” caught my attention. After examining this more closely, I clicked on the link to the song “Orinoco Flow”, quite possibly the only Enya song I had ever really been familiar with. Listening to it once again, stirred a mixture of emotions within. I recalled the times, many years ago now, when as a young man l would sit and try and decipher the words from the lively and cheery melody. The only words that I could ever manage to gleen were the two words repeated almost continuously in the song “Sail Away, sail away, sail away.”
Just to get my facts right, I googled the song and discovered that the song was released on “15 October 1988 on WEA Records in Europe and 10 January 1989 by Geffen Records in the United States.” This confirmed that I was correct in associating the song with the end of my student days and my entry into adulthood. Listening to this haunting song, one is almost hypnotised by the constant repetitive mantra of “Sail away, sail away, sail away.” Whatever it was about the song, it certainly stuck in my mind as I approached the end of my days at college. Many’s a pint of Guinness l sat over, contemplating the meaning of life, my world and my future.
From this time I can also recall the strong desire within me to “Sail Away” from my own life. The need to discover new places, new people and friends and perhaps a new and more acceptable version of myself. My crazy days of confusion at university were now over and it was time for me to “Sail Away” and leave all that behind me. If Enya had decided to call the song “Run Away”, it would have been every bit as applicable to me, if not even more so.
I’m very privileged to work nowadays as a counsellor in a school over-looking the sea near Belfast. Sometmes between clients, I stand at the top of the stairs outside my room, and look out of the large window down onto the port of Belfast below me. I watch the many different types of boats and ships making their way into and out of the port. I wonder about those on board. Where are they’ going ? Why they are going? Is their journey for pleasure or out of necessity? Are they leaving loved ones behind? Or might they, full of excitement and dreams, be off on their adventures to discover the world?
Recalling this episode from my own life, invites me to refocus, and quite possibly engenders a deeper level of empathy and appreciation within me. Today as I stand and look over the sea before me, I will no doubt, rewind and replay that haunting mantra, that had managed to covertly lock itself away in my mind and my soul.
“Sail away, sail away, sail away.”
From my perch, high up on the top floor of the school, I will take a moment, as I often do, to watch the pupils “Toing and froing” below me. I will step back in contemplative mood, speaking less and wondering more.
As l sit with those I work with, I will be more aware that I hold the hopes, the dreams, aspirations and all too often, the worries of these young people. I will be that bit more mindful of their needs and difficulties. The need for them to escape from their dark places and “Run away” or perhaps their desire for challenge, excitement and new adventures as they get ready to “Sail Away, Sail Away, Sail away”… Bon Voyage…