Day 626 The banks of the River Cumberland, County Davidson, Territory of Tennessee. I awoke this morning from a deep winter’s sleep and stepped out on deck to see a world transformed. The once barren trees have begun to sprout green buds, and birds are singing in all directions without the slightest tinge of dissonance. I took a stroll through the village and heard songs coming from every window and door, even where there were no people stirring. As I turned onto Long Street I heard a woman in a garden singing the most melancholy melody of unrequited love ever heard, and yet that feeling of sorrow shared in song made it not sorrowful at all.
When I rounded the corner to head back to the docks, I was struck by the sound of fiddles and guitars playing an Irish Jig, “Whiskey Before Breakfast”, and saw a dozen schoolgirls with their hands on their hips dancing on their toes. Then I saw an amazing sight: every soul in the village, all the dockworkers, the baker, the police, the maids, the blacksmith, the seamstresses, the drunkards and the vicars, they all had their hands on their hips and their feet in the air, dancing with an unbridled joy, and the sky was turning a deep shade of emerald green! Then I remembered the day: ’tis the Feast of Saint Patrick, the day the whole world is Irish, and music will fill the air!