(Sculpture by Bruno Catalano)
(Welsh, noun) A homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home which maybe never was; the nostalgia, the yearning, the grief for the lost places of your past.
Sculptures don’t often “speak” to me. I’m more of a words kind of girl… Yet when I saw these pictures, they didn’t just speak, they struck a very deep chord. Suitcase in hand, off to new horizons. Somehow I don’t think he is off on his summer holidays. This looks more serious. Maybe he is emigrating, all his possesions in one suitcase. Unlike me, shipping boxes and boxes full of stuff from my old home to the new one.
Either way, the travelling, the good-byes have left their mark. He leaves part of himself behind. The people, the places, that made that season of his life special. He can take his memories with him but there will always be the aching, the longing, the hiraeth.
“A homesickness for a home to which you cannot return”. These days, travel is easy. Many of us are able to return to the places we have left behind. Those are special times. And yet… It is never truly returning home. Places change, people leave or pass away, we ourselves change. Relationships will never be the same again.
In the leaving, there is great excitement and hope. There is also the first inkling of hiraeth, of leaving behind a part of yourself that can never be retrieved. So often the joy and the richness of discovering a new place, new relationships, and the painful longing for the old, “for the lost places of your past”, go hand in hand.
Refugees, emigrants of old, people who know, who knew, that a physical return will be nigh on impossible – how much more deeply must they feel, have felt that “hiraeth”.
Hiraeth bears considerable similarities with the Portuguese concept of saudade (a key theme in Fado music), Galician morriña and Romanian dor (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiraeth)
For a beautiful piece on “saudade” look here: http://communicatingacrossboundariesblog.com/2012/02/07/saudade-a-word-for-the-third-culture-kid/
Another post inpired by these scupltures (and a bit more information about the artist): http://communicatingacrossboundariesblog.com/2014/05/05/les-voyageurs-beautifully-imperfect/
This is where I first came across the sculptures and the quote: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=650801698303093&set=a.241035489279718.52064.199504240099510&type=1&theater