That was the subject line of an email that somebody sent me once. Six years ago, in fact. It was a retired gentleman who I'd got into correspondence with about a mutual literary interest, and who I met a couple of times. I liked his stories about his past, his self-mythologizing tendencies. It's a funny thing...a certain kind of boastfulness is an endearing trait. At least, I find it an endearing trait.
Anyway, the subject line has stuck in my head over the years, and I've found myself musing over it from time to time. I've wondered if he took it from something, but I couldn't find the phrase anywhere else. A google search returns only one "hit" for it, and it's not a very interesting one. Only just now, I've looked at his original email and the subject line doesn't really bear any relation to what he was writing about-- he was congratulating me on a letter to a newspaper, one which had nothing to do with ramblings in Erin or anywhere else.
What was he thinking of? I don't want to email him now, for various reasons, and I very much doubt he'd remember anyway. A curious sort of glamour hangs over the phrase, in my mind-- mixed with a certain wistfulness, or nostalgia. I don't know why.
"Erin" was perhaps a funny term for him to use, because he was something of an anti-romantic. We had a protracted debate (reluctant on my part) in which he insisted that Ireland had got better and better over his lifetime, as a result of capitalism. I don't care about capitalism one way or the other, but I was trying to argue that much had been lost over that same time-frame. He took the amount of cars you can see on the road today as a measure of social progress. I didn't even know how to argue with that.
So much of life seems like something bewitching glimpsed out of a window, when you were hurrying by, and which is gone when you return to look.