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Thursday, July 23, 2009

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Return to Me

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If you are going to stay away from home for four years, you have to come back long enough to shed your own strangeness. A week is only sufficient to remind you how much you've grown away from your roots. A nice place to visit, you think. But it's true what they say, you can't go home again. By week two, the place begins to feel less like an artifact, and more like a living place that exists independently of your own history. People live here, you realize. Out of choice. You chose differently. You wonder why and what if.

Somewhere after the third week, you come home. Every morning, you laugh at the three pairs of high heel shoes in your suitcase. Whose are those? What was she thinking? You walk around the corner to your sister's house in your flats, across a lane that descends at a 60 degree angle to the bay. Your hair is as wild as seaweed in a churning sea. The styling products you brought languish in your luggage, rendered useless by the salt air and wind. Forgotten words and phrases drift into your speech, roll off your tongue smooth as beach glass.

Last night I came back to Innisfree, the land my grandparents lived on, and where my parents had a cottage during my growing up years. The sign gives it another name now, and rental chalets stand in the old orchard. The cottage is gone, as is the house my grandfather died in. But the tall grass still grows in the upper meadow, the birches still stand, the hedge of wild roses still blooms. The river goes on and on, the ashes of my grandmother and father mingled in the silt beneath.

I know every root, branch and hollow as well as I know the lines of my own palm. I pressed my bare soles to the soil. Dug my fingers into the clay. I've come come back to you, I whispered through the birches. Come back to me.

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8 Comments:

Blogger Elizabeth Harper said...

I envy your connection to a place with family history that grounds you. My own life has been so transient that even though I can call memories and experiences back to me in certain locations, I don't feel like that's really home.

It was in a place totally new to me that my emotional roots shot out like an over fertilized rose bush right from the moment my feet stepped onto the Isle of Skye in Scotland. I felt a kinship to the land and air in the Western Highlands that never existed for me before.

It was the constant call of the rugged landscape that led to meeting my darling Englishman who is now my husband. We don't live in Scotland, but it is because of Scotland I've finally begun to put down roots. Cornwall has its own beauty and I am perfectly content now having found my way to a more permanent home.

Lovely post today..thank you.

8:16 AM  
Blogger Jennifer H said...

Jeezus, Kyran, you just gave me goosebumps.

10:45 AM  
Blogger Tena Laing said...

I love the way you expressed that visceral connection most of us have to Newfoundland. It's there every time I drive around the arm of Gros Morne and into Norris Point. Geographical, generational and generative.

12:12 PM  
Blogger Janie Blagg said...

Sometimes you have to go home and relive your past in order to know where you are now and where you're going.

3:08 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

It sounds so beautiful and haunting in your words -- and the word Innisfree -- makes me think of W.B. Yeats and his poem.

12:34 AM  
Blogger Cassie said...

Wonderful post! I grew up in Southern California and although I've been gone for 20 years, as soon as I sink my feet into the sand at Paradise Cove, I know I am home.

1:18 PM  
Blogger Jen K-C said...

You have such a way with words, what a gift.

6:39 PM  
Blogger Stickhorsecowgirls said...

Beautiful post. I know what you mean about the re-acclimation process. Very wistful.

5:49 AM  

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