I’ve been in a semi-homesick state for a few months now, which is dumb, because I am home most of the time. But in what I guess is the pit of my stomach, mixing it up with various enzymes and comistibles, is a tightly tangled ball something I can best describe as homesickness. Or maybe wistfulness? Nostalgia? Homewistalgia?
I don’t need a psychotherapist to tell me the reasons why – leaving a beloved house, approaching 40, my baby starting full time school, my parents leaving the family farm, moving schools – all in a few months. It is normal to feel weird. It will pass. Just a little too much change.
Change can be a sad thing but it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It makes me look at things differently, I feel things more, I notice more. Things resonate. Happy tears spring into my eyes more often, just as sad ones do. A bit like a poet, or a dying person maybe, or someone in the throes of early love.
When I was little my mum bought us a copy of Beatrix Potter’s Mrs Tiggy Winkle. I spent hours gazing at the pictures in that book and wishing I could go to that village in the mountains where Lucie lived. I wanted to wander along hillsides and clamber over stiles. I’ve always had a thing about old fashioned clotheslines and the smell of ironing (clearly not good grounding in feminism). I named my daughter Lucie, with that same particular spelling. Places with hillside paths and stiles and old clotheslines, beautiful places or memory places or places that stir something in me like pangs of nostalgia or wistfulness or awe, they are my Tiggywinkle place. In my current state of homewistalgia, there seem to be tiggywinkle places everywhere I go. A Celtic spiritualist would perhaps refer to them as ‘thin places’ – places where the boundary between heaven and Earth is especially thin. I don’t know about heaven but I do believe we all have – for whatever reason – our own thin places.
Mine are everywhere, and if they’re not I’m homesick for them, or wistful for the ones I’ve never seen. It’s exhausting and a bit of a waste of energy really. But I guess it shows we need difference so as to avoid indifference.
But anyway, I am herein resolving to stop all the wallowing and focus my energy into turning our new house into a tiggywinkle place. Must look up a youtube tutorial on how to build a stile. Before I do though, today I put some of my wallowing energy into a poem about homesickness. Here it is, then I’ll move on. And maybe get a hedgehog.
There’s a late summer blackberry, warm grass smell
And the faraway toll of a Sunday bell
And the spun-gold glow of the sun as it fell
On the flickering leaves of the trees
As they dance in the morning breeze,
To the drum of the nearby seas.
It’s the call of a gull on the dive to the blue,
And the laugh of a child with her hat all askew,
And the wist of my heart as it knows what is true,
That it’s past time I made tracks for home,
Enough of this being alone,
It’s time for returning home.