Excerpt from Tadhg’s Journal: I’m home. Yes, I’m now firmly back in north Wales; Capel Curig to be precise. Well, at least for a week.
Home, and yet, not quite home! Not ‘at home’, in the sense that we are all transient creatures. The old word for this, and one that I like, would be sojourners – we’re all sojourners, all passing through!
Jesus said: ‘I am going there to prepare a place for you.’ John 14:2, The Book.
It’s early. 6.30am. I’m sitting here, coffee to the side of me, and I’m thinking.
Time. I’m reminiscing, really. As I look around this room, fairly recently decorated, it’s as if in my mind’s eye the layers of ‘modernity’ are peeled away, and a sepia-setting of yesteryear appears once more; what was there, seemingly is superimposed over what is there. Home?
If you’ve seen the remake of the movie ‘The Time Machine’ you’ll know the scenes where the character, Alexander Hartdegen (played by Guy Pearce) is sitting in the chair of his time-machine, in a bubble of ‘no-time’, and outside that bubble the seasons change frantically, in nano-seconds – birth, growth, death, decay, rebirth and so on. It was like that, in my imagination. A memory ‘bubble’ of an experience of what was. Change.
The grandfather-clock, with its melodic, constant, comforting, regular beat, is still in the hall, just out of sight – but I can hear it. Its pendulum, like a heart, has been beating for over seventy years, marking the passage time. It never varies, and yet, to me, it seems time does vary.
‘It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.’ Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.
Different. As a boy, time seemed to go oh-so, re-assuringly slow, as I listened to, and looked up to that grandfather clock. Then, I looked to the future only. Now, that grandfather clock’s heart still beats, but I don’t look down on it any more – I’ve grown; and I think of the past, to what was, and for a moment wistfully, wish…to go back? But, that is futile – there is no going back! I’ve matured! And, if we could go back in that H G Well’s ‘time-machine’ we know things never quite work out the same. Now and then, and ‘something’ in between.
That looking back, wistfully, and yet knowing that one cannot go back, and even if one could, it wouldn’t be the same, is called ‘hiraeth’, locally. An old Celtic, Welsh word full of meaning.
If you have fond-memories-but-a-positive-disquiet-of-wanting-to-go-back to your childhood, for the way things seemed to be, knowing total elusiveness in obtaining that experience, again, then you have momentarily experienced a taste of hiraeth. The more you try to ‘capture’ that word and its meaning, the more it slips through your fingers.
‘Don’t look back, girl,’ Gravier yells as we ride off. ‘You’re not going that way!’. Celia Mcmahon, Skye
Future. And so I’m sitting here, at home and yet not ‘at home’ in one sense of the word, reminiscing of home as it used to be, and yet journeying onward to a home, in the future, not built of bricks and mortar that I cannot remember, and yet, oddly, look forward too! Liminal, now!