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Hiraeth

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

So. Positivity.

I do try to find the positive in things. Look, my purple-hearted, white clematis is blooming from earth to sky, My strawberries are starting to set! I finally saw Paw-Paw blossoms!

But sometimes one feeling reigns supreme:

Hiraeth.

This Welsh word difficult word to translate into English because it is so much deeper than mere longing, more wrenching than nostalgia, even more poignant than homesickness. The generally agreed upon translation is “a longing in the soul to come home.”

I have found a home in Missouri. There are good things here and there are bad things here, as is true of every place on earth. Even home isn’t home anymore. As Neil Diamond said “L.A.’s fine, but it ain’t home, New York’s home but it ain’t mine no more.” So even if I COULD go back I couldn’t because home isn’t home anymore.

But oh, some days. Days when I’m feeling particularly wrung out. When family seems so far away; those days that are mostly sunny with cool mornings and warm afternoons, with the ballgame playing; when the breeze smells of neither salt spray nor wild buckwheat. Days when I’m feeling particularly alone and the memories of my childhood overwhelm me.

Did you know our Blue Jays are different than the Blue Jays here? We have long-tailed Scrub Jays. We have Jack Rabbits with satellite ears and our oaks are Live Oaks with small, prickly, curled leaves.

We have Manzanita with red, burnished wood; Matilija Poppies that look like fried eggs on long stalks, and tweed-skinned Alligator Lizards crawling through the canyons. We have orange trees and lemon trees and fig trees and even Kumquat trees. There are Shoreline-blown Torrey Pines and messy, purple Jacaranda and Ocotillo, a cactus that looks a little like churros.

Life is funny. It takes you places you never dreamed you’d go, physically and psychologically, mentally and emotionally. And even when you have accepted “that this is where I live,” still there are days when I know exactly what Hilda Lewis meant when she wrote “And as he spoke, I was broken with longing for the home of my childhood.”

And tomorrow I’ll be fine, but sometimes the only word in my head, in my heart, in my soul is Hiraeth.

Diolch am wrando – Thanks for listening.
Heddwch,

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