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20 September 2010

Monday's Word - Hiraeth

Do you like this picture?  It's a place called Capel Curig, in Wales, where I used to live.

What's that got to do with 'Hiraeth' I hear you ask, and what does the word mean, anyway?

Well, I'll get to that in a moment.  A friend and I were talking about one day returning to the land where our roots are - hers in Virginia,  mine in rural Wales.
It made me think of the old song I remember from my childhood:

'We'll keep a welcome in the hillside, we'll keep a welcome in the vales, we'll kiss away each hour of 'hiraeth' when you come home again to Wales.'

We were both feeling a bit 'homesick'.  That's what Hiraeth is - it's Welsh for being homesick for Wales - but more than that - it's a deep longing, really homesickness doesn't come close to the intensity of feeling that 'hiraeth' invokes.  I now  live in a beautiful part of England, close to the Chiltern hills.  But I long for the wild mountains of my native Wales, the mountains which inspired many of my stories, and the lakes and mountain streams. I used to live near the sea.  Somehow I miss the mountains more than the sea, although I enjoyed walking or riding  along the beach, and I do love water.  I am, and always have been a country lover and would be suffocated by city living.  However I know that people who were born and brough up in the city would be just as lost if they suddenly found themselves living in the country.  I think the place where one grows up permeates one's body and soul, so there is always a part of you that remains there. 'You can take the woman out of Wales,' I tell my friends 'but you can't take Wales out of the woman.'

I hope one day I will return to the 'land of my fathers', as I also hope everone who finds themselve in a land which is not their home, will be able to return one day to theirs.