A Yearning For Lost Places

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I was around thirteen years old when I first started feeling. When I say “feeling,” I mean, feeling heartbreak or sadness about circumstances. I mean, feeling things that typically kids don’t feel until they’re not really a child anymore. I would feel confused with things in life or about my emotions towards my friends or about my latest crush. (ha! “latest.” In my lifetime, I had 3 real crushes that ignored me and hurt me before I found my husband – my friends went through dozens!)

I’m not sure exactly what made this image come to my mind. I think it was a dream or something but after the first time I envisioned, it had become a staple in my mind. Every moment I had to sit in silence and thought, I would see it. For years.

A woman – from behind – standing on the edge of a white beach at night. A sea of blackness melted into the dark sky that was speckled with stars. She wore a white dress that gently fluttered in a breeze. The visual was beautiful but it was sad at the same time. So many emotions would flood through me as I would lie there, visualizing the scene over and over.

Sadness. Heart break. Regret. Guilt. Confusion. Homesickness. Hiraeth.3855693_orig.png

I was thirteen when I first saw this image. At thirteen, you usually don’t have enough experiences in life to feel all of those emotions – especially to feel them all at the same time. As if I’d done something wrong and couldn’t turn back.

I still to this day don’t understand why this image and these emotions came to me so soon. I forgot about them for years until a deja vu moment hit me today and the image came to mind once again – the sad girl on the beach. And, I have realize now that, throughout my life, the emotions felt in that vision followed me my entire life. Even when things go well, hiraeth is there. It’s the most peculiar thing to feel when you’re happy because, well, it’s a sense of sadness that hits out of nowhere and for no particular reason – sadness for something unattainable. It’s a sudden desire to jump up, drop everything and run out looking for it but you know you can’t reach it, you can’t touch it or it simply doesn’t exist. Sort of like desiring a star. You stand on the tallest mountain, on your tippy toes, reaching – stretching – as far as your body can possibly manage but you still can’t touch it. It’s too far. It’s completely, utterly beyond your reach.

To be honest, I don’t know why I’m sharing this. I was just working on a new book and I was excited. I was moving forward, outlining, plotting and then, boom – deja vu. I stopped, looked out the window to the snow on the pine trees and in my mind, I saw the image of the woman on the beach and with it came the string of emotions.

I’m going to go back to my writing and enjoying the wintery scene out of the window. Maybe I’ll find a story for that girl on the beach and share it with the world and maybe it’ll speak to someone.

I guess that’s all I could really hope for from something like this.

3 Comments

  1. Thank you for writing this. Maybe it’s the fact that the world that I grew up in is vastly different than the one I live in today. (morals, values, politics). But I long for a time that I can’t go back to. A time of innocence. Maybe even a time of ignorance when I didn’t see things as I do now. I see things as an adult. I too long for a time or place where I didn’t feel the weight of responsibility on my shoulders. I’m sure that isn’t the same thing you are feeling, but it is as close to it as I can come. Thank you for reminding me that I did get to exist in such a world if only for a short period of time.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have felt the exact same way for many years, though I felt it more strongly as a child, isolated and unpopular with nothing to do but bury myself in fantasy fiction (Lord of the Rings, Narnia, and the like). Sometimes the longing hurt so bad I would start crying, or just run outside and take a long, long walk, wishing I was anywhere but where I was. Over the years, married to a wonderful man and surrounded by a wonderful family, the feelings have lessened, and I’ve realized that they can be tempered by thankfulness and joy in what we do have (I am very blessed and not nearly thankful enough). I think it is a better place to be in, to grow up and embrace the blessings we have in the present, while exploring the delightful ability we writers have of creating our own new worlds to explore, and passing that onto our children.

    It’s actually a concept that is also in the Narnia books, that longing for a place we’ve never been, but where we know we belong. That knowing we weren’t meant for this world. Nice to know I wasn’t the only one 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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