Sunday, February 21, 2021

Honoring the Longing

Something that happens to me every so often is I get stricken by an intense desire and nostalgia for what I simply refer to as "The Old World." The sight of modern anything--cars, wires, sports shirts, tennis shoes, neon signs, tupperware, styles and lingo of the day, memes, speech patterns, all of it--dulls my mind even moreso than usual and I long for somewhere or somewhen that I really have a hard time putting my finger on, or putting words around. But the essence of it is captured herehere, here, here, here, and on a more philosophical level here and here. As quick examples.



When this whirlwind comes over me, I fall quiet and inward, and all I know to do is to make my own world resemble this imaginative place as much as possible. I mind my thoughts, my words, my quickness and try to sink into the headspace of that time (though I still don't know if linear time is the right way of thinking about it). 

So this morning, we woke, he a little before I, and the former meditated and the latter showered. Then I told him how I'm feeling- and wondered out loud if maybe going to the Scottish Highlands for a few months would be feasible. I think you can stay for 6 months at a time, maybe then heading up to the north of Sweden or over to the west of Ireland... then switching back again when the 6 month visa ran out. Repeat. Just to be immersed in that world where the tales, rituals, and mythologies of my own kin and blood are buried in the soil and carved into stone. Would I feel a familiarity? Would I experience deja vu unexpectedly like the Barra boy? I idealize a life there, assuming, perhaps quite unrealistically, constant enchantment, where the doors of my creativity are swung open and a convocation of eagles thunders out, relieved to be released, their spirits soaring across that landscape, brushing shoulders with the ghosts of my forefathers who still require bread and water offerings. 

When I feel this way, the best thing I know to do is either go out to some mythical and inspiring landscape and to meander and sit there, or to stay home with my teas and coffees and steep my mind in appropriate documentaries, books, or my own creative projects. If honed correctly, I've learned that this terrible longing, like a lost love, can be a source of inspiration. 




Anywho- this morning after our talk, we decided to meander into town, grab some hot breakfast from the local market to-go, refill our thermos' with hot coffee, and go sit by the lighthouse with it all. On the way, we listened to Dylan Thomas' Under Milkwood, the 1954 radio drama of the innermost thoughts and feelings of the inhabitants of a small Welsh fishing village. It helped kindle and hold onto this atmosphere I was hoping to sink into for the day.


As we wound through the streets of our own seaside town, headed for the lighthouse, the air smelled of seaweed and breakfast, and the pedestrians began turning into characters themselves, just like in the story we were listening to. Amazing what a shift in perspective can do.

We perched on a large rock and sat quietly as the churning sea tide rolled in, actually out, a few feet beneath us. I chewed the buttermilk biscuit dipped in gravy, and let my gaze free to do as it pleased out across the sea, sometimes focused, sometimes blurred and wide and dreaming. A speckled body broke the milky blue surface, her deep black eyes looking into ours, and we gasped- a harbor seal, or maybe a Selkie woman. Who knows in this time when we've made everything mundane with our categorized folders of so-called facts, which we all feel we have an authority over, a monopoly on truth. But maybe the harbor seal was a Selkie. Let's live in the question.



Back home now, I'm curled at my desk with the heater on, about to start on a new embroidery, and through the wall I can tell that Eric is singing songs I've never heard before, of his own making I do believe, and strumming guitar. I'm glad the creative feeling is permeating and we have, for a bit, gotten our minds off the ol' to-do list which can distract you for a lifetime if you don't watch it.

I'm going to go fill the coffee cup and thread the needle, with a picture in my mind involving a dharmachakra-wheeled chariot, a druid charioteer, with a black and white horse pulling them both. In the druids hand will be either a torch or the branch of a Holly tree. Do you know the ancient relationship with druids and modern rulers (who program the masses) with Holly wood

I'll leave you with some footage I've captured over the last few days...