Nostalgia

July 13, 2011 § Leave a comment


What

Is the 

Root of all these 

Words? 

One thing: love.

But a love so deep and sweet

It needed to express itself 

With scents, sounds, colours

That never before

Existed. 

-Hafiz

I have been cursed, or perhaps blessed, with nostalgia for many years. I don’t understand where it comes from or why it arrives.  It is a longing for another time and distant place, for a concept, for a moment, or an idea, and even when I seem close to accessing a replica of this past, nostalgia remains present, there is always something out of reach. I sometimes feel nostalgic if only for a future I once deeply imagined, that is no longer possible.  These days I feel nostalgic for warm summer nights and dips in the lake, for the dark silhouettes of my friends paddling under the moon and silently dipping their heads beneath the still waters, turning over onto their backs to look at the the stars, and the tiny minnow who jump into the dusky sky. I feel nostalgia for a sky that was once silent, for that time, not long ago, before planes cut through the night, before they landed in the harbour, I feel nostalgic for before the before.  I feel nostalgic for a fire slowly burning to smoking embers, when the night is long and nearing its end; or for the way the sun rises over a beach when we have stayed awake all night, watching the black blue sky turning slowly to pink, and for how life awakens all around us.  My heart breaks for the love of an island.  An Island who is my friend and my history and my ancestry; an island who is my memory and my dream and my healing — candle-lit and gentle, an old torn couch pushed against the wall where teenagers sip on bottles of beer together until dawn, where there are spiders in the corner, and the silent and fresh star-filled night just one step out the door. 

“What is an island, a point of land surrounded by water, or a man or woman surrounded by their world?” asks Brian Brett

“When I think of home and islands I can’t get out of my head the fabled story of the old fisherman from the Aran Islands who one day was waylaid by a toursit. After some conversation the tourist asked.  ‘And you sir, do you travel much?’ The old Islander thought about this for a moment and then said: ‘No, I never had to. I was born here.’

That’s the way the heart must feel, through deaths and oceans, and births like difficult journeys, through the long voyages to the Orient, or walks down the street, the sureness of coming home, wherever you were born.”

It’s a nostalgia that aches, a nostalgia that repairs.

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