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Friday, 16 January 2015

Waves of Homesickness

I have been pondering today on the phenomenon known as "homesickness".  Now, I am an adaptable person, who has lived in many, many different places, able to put down roots quickly, like a good soldier.

Rarely do I pine for the past, as I am also a person who lives very much in the present. But, once in a while, something will trigger a memory which causes a bit of sadness and longing, however ephemeral. For example, hearing a robin singing in the morning in France last week, for two days or so, made me think of England and her robins.

But, when I hear the song of the blackbird, I experience homesickness. The song of the blackbird always reminds me of my first spring in England at Wills Hall in Stoke Bishop, the "candle trees" blooming on the green, and the blackbirds singing in the full branches.

A happy spring, full of promise for a new life, surrounding me working on a doctoral thesis in which I was engrossed, feeling and being healthy and attractive, grateful to be alive and young in Bristol.....this all comes back in the song of the blackbird.

What also comes to the mind, the heart, and the soul are those very early mornings holding a new baby, I, ecstatic to be a "mummy", listening to the birds outside my window in Sussex. Again, the singing of the blackbird reminds me of walks in the countryside around Sherborne, along the lanes winding up to the Old Castle, and the smell of cut grass in the fields.

The blackbird's song also brings back a memory of a walk in Bayswater on a rainy day, in the late afternoon, when I was feeling cold and out of sorts, until the bird brought me back to joy.

The song of the blackbird reminds me of seeing my son after long, long months of separation in Devon at Buckfast, walking up the Downs in the hot sun with him ahead of me, and I looking at the miracle of a boy turned into a man.

In Sussex, again, waiting for a train to take me to the airport, yet another trip out of the country, hearing the bird reassured me that Britain would be here when I got back...which I did not.

For me, the song of the blackbird is a song of love, love of place, of the countryside, of a young boy-child holding my hand as we looked for flowers in the hedgerows, and talking ever so quietly, falling into silence together at the wonder of God's nature.

If this is homesickness, then I "have it" today.