Coley is lucky because he gets to wear muddy Wellington boots all year long and a tatty woollen hat and a ragged sweater and stand in his yard and look at the sheds and the shit and the wheelbarrow and the cat basking in the corner by the white wall where the wild flowers grow, cascading like blood in June. He gets to walk down the road at a slow pace, partly because of his artificial hip and scan his fields like a radiologist might in a hospital clinic, glimpsing any slight change, noticing the white blossom on the hedgerow, the draining of the field, the gorse - how much more vibrant it is this year, must be the heat, he thinks.
I wonder if Coley considers me to be lucky too. If he thinks my nice red car is an enviable asset. If he wishes he could sink into the comfy seat and drive out to Connemara to take in the purple mountains and the singing streams and stop in for a frothy pint of Guinness at a small pub in the middle of nowhere. If he walks by my house, but he never does these days, because it is too far for him now, but if he did, he might see me in the garden, bent over the small tiny tendrils from the peas, trying to coax them into some order, wishing them to cling to the stakes provided. He might recall something then of old gardens long ago when someone he knew did that. His mother or his sister Mary, who walked by this house with her cows every evening for years. I envied Mary. I thought she was the luckiest woman alive as I watched her bold stride from the confines of my kitchen where three young children perched at a table waiting for food like tiny fledglings. She was free and with only a stick in her hand walked past my door and I watched her and dreamed my drowning dreams.
But surely luck is all around us. It waits in the shadows. I have been lucky in so many ways but my luck, the luck that matters is visual. I choose to pick the luck out of the earth, pluck out the weeds, sow in the promise, reap the harvest.
Coley's barrow is mostly empty these days and I no longer see the stack of turf by his door. He must have had someone put in central heating. And he no longer drives his rickety tractor piled with feed for his cows ten fields down. I remember how he used to dismantle part of a stone wall just to feed the cows and once they were fed, put the wall back together again. The intricacy never daunted. The wall relaced into a beautiful pattern. Now that was luck or no, maybe it was respect. Maybe luck is respect, respect and a realisation for all that we sometimes take for granted.