Sunday, 21 August 2011

Home is Where...

I've been feeling uncharacteristically 'down', these past couple of days and at first, I wasn't able to put my finger on the problem. A nagging sense of loss, like an exaggeration of that feeling you get when you know you've left the house without all that you need.

Yule Cottage, the place of my birth.

On rare occasions like this I tend to seek refuge in the shelter of better days, where I carefully count my treasured memories and check them for signs of wear. Yesterday, it was becoming clear to me that I was drifting unpleasantly on a sea of nostalgia. No mal de mer for me, but I was nursing a spot of homesickness. A mild pining for the place of my birth. There had been no obvious trigger, I just needed to revisit a simple, settled and secure marker in a terrain that's been shaped by a flood of unpredictability.

Yule Cottage, today, courtesy of Google Maps

It doesn't take long to cover the twenty or so miles that lay between me and the village where I first drew breath. Years ago, I unconsciously planted my flags of reminder. They still fluttered in the lanes and cast shadows on the flint. And, as I passed familiar cottages, sympathetic new-builds, all the way to the Church of the Blessed Mary and beyond the overgrown coppice my grandfather worked, the proverbial weight of uncertainty began to lift. This section of my past was still here...and somehow, I knew it wouldn't let me down.

Regular visitors will know that I have often waxed lyrical about Cornwall, and how it still remains very special to me. But I think what I'm beginning to realise is, there can be only one true place where my body and soul feel perfectly at ease. It's a force of attraction that's impossible for me to deny, an invisible, unbreakable tie that holds me fast as the world changes around and about. It may not be where I live, but it's home all the same.

17 comments:

  1. I think our emotions sometime just demand us to reevaluate and sometimes to return just to get a sense of being. The old home place looks like it was a wonderful place.

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  2. I like this posting- it made me think about where my "home" is....and I realized that for the last 21+ years I finally was home here in this house I live in- and it's not the place but the person I live with and the person I have become. We belong together and that's where home is.

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  3. I think it is a thing of beauty if one has a home of the heart
    Mine is Rome, and when I stay away too long, I get seriously homesick.

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  4. These Feelings Flow....It Indeed Looks A Worthy Place To re-member & re-explore.

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  5. What a lovely way to rejuvenate your normal, happy self. A lovely place, too...full of special memories for you!

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  6. I like the idea of planting flags of reminder, which still flutter and cast shadows...Martin, there’s a poem in there. Kathe W speaks true; where is home really? Is it bricks and mortar or is it where those you love most reside?

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  7. A lovely piece, Martin. I know the feeling you're talking of. I used to live six or seven miles away from the village I was born in, and every now and again would visit there just to drive down the street replaying memories. I think just physically being there made me feel better.

    Now I live thousands of miles away on another continent. My heart feels like it's breaking some days. I long to touch a wall, fence, tree hedge, anything from my place of birth. Mostly I miss the people I have known all my life. The loneliness gets worse the older I get.

    Sometimes we take the wrong turn in life, get lost in the maze. I'm glad you found your way back there. I will too. The old roots need a drink.

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  8. The years and the current owners have been kind to Yule Cottage. I have a special 'home of the heart' -- my grandparents' house where I spent so many happy times. It too has been treated well by its current owners -- and I too traveled to it recently via Google maps.

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  9. Beautiful post - not surprised you get homesick for such a lovely place - homesickness is one of the worst feeling, I feel (it gets right to the core of your being).

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  10. Thank you, everyone. Of course, Little Nell and Kathe W, you are absolutely right, a home is far more than bricks and mortar. You can't beat the feeling that comes from being surrounded by those you love most.

    But I think Vicki summed it up neatly with her 'home of the heart'. It's a sort of emotional beacon that helps me to get my bearings, from time to time.

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  11. I know that feeling, Martin. Since my mum passed away, my physical home has gone. The wonderful thing about writing is that I can recreate it anytime and walk back in there.

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  12. Love Vicki's phrase--"home of the heart." I'm not sure I've discovered mine yet. It's definitely not hard scrabble Central Texas, where I was born, nor muggier-than-hell coastal Texas, where I live now.

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  13. I worry that my kids feel like that now that we've moved away from the house where they grew up. It wasn't always my home, but it was theirs. Hm.

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  14. Oh wow, what a wonderful description. I came here via another blog and will be reading avidly from now on. I tried to address this same subject recently (here: http://fingerrollsandfoldingchairs.wordpress.com/2011/10/17/id-rather-be-in-yorkshire/), but you found the words I never could. Thanks so much!

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  15. Louise - Glad you dropped by, and found something you like. It's a fine line we follow back into our past. I hope I didn't stray too far from it.

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  16. I did read this when you posted it, but am drawn to reading it again in the light of my own nostalgia trip. You have written far more poetically and elegantly than I ever could, but the sensations I feel are much the same. It's funny, I love the soft honeyed stone of my adopted Saltaire but when I see rough red brick, it soothes me in an odd kind of way.

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    Replies
    1. jennyfreckles, you describe the effect of the rough red brick perfectly. I adored our granite-built Cornish cottage, but always yearned for the warmth and familiarity of red brick.

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