what is home but a familiar pulling at the heart. who is family but people, by nature, to whom we are drawn and thus necessitate their comfort, shelter, grace, and presence. and what is homesickness then but an insatiable desire for an intangible past, a physical nostalgia, an endless and familiar dream.
i’ve recently come across this (by nature) unspeakably charming list of words for which there is no direct translation in english. they are feelings we all have, carried in our heart and experienced often, and there is ultimately nothing lost in translation. I forever find myself entranced in the beauty of languages that necessitated the development of these words.
this one, in particular, hit me.
a homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home which maybe never was; the nostalgia, the yearning, the grief for the lost places of your past
there is simply no explanation as to why i have left pieces of my heart buried deep in so many places. and it isn’t given voluntarily, it is taken. split from me and taken and consumed entirely. in places, it has been buried between sturdy cobblestones and enveloped into the ether of incomprehensible sunsets alike. in people, it has remained in conversations so deep that it’s a wonder only my heart and not my entire physical being was left there in the depths of a significant verbal exchange. and in relationships where perhaps your heart is only a token of the wholeness that you have given.
it’s involuntary and yet entirely accepted, because to give your heart in such unspoken discernment signifies a recognized respect, a visible beacon, a palpable sanctuary, a home, there.
a home there for your heart.
it happens in that first glance of the tower, likely through thick parisian fog and a blesssing for being so, because if seen any clearer it would shatter you completely. it happens when hearing the call to prayer in istanbul, the surprising harmonization of turet dwellers and worshippers alike. it happens in that last look at prague, and its painful fading into the distance feels as if you held the paintbrush and you alone dimmed each pastel rooftop and shimmering river and glowing streetlamp as it all fades, with permission it seems, into the distance.
it’s hiraeth. for which your heart breaks and then mends and then aches and then seeks.
never settling and always wistfully or painfully seeking.
and then home is something is felt so much deeper. and family are those people who are a constant and impenetrable presence. and love… love is a fucking earthquake.
hiraeth is what we seek and fear from travel. and thus, unquestionably, the reason why we do.