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You Can Never Go Back Home: Debriefing, Part One

“Saudade is creation, a perpetual and fruitful marriage of Remembrance with Desire, of Evil with God, of Life with Death . . .”.
Texeira de Pascoaes

We’ll be back in Eastern Standard Time tomorrow. It’s been a lovely time in one of the most beautiful parts of earth –possibly the universe– and I am feeling melancholy and it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what I am melancholy about.

It could be the Brazilian music delicately wafting from the ‘puter; after all, it was a Portuguese poet who coined that delicate term, “saudade,” which is what you feel for something when it’s no longer with you.

Okay, “saudade” is just like nostalgia, really. But much prettier because Portuguese makes blah things really pretty. Don’t believe me? Here you go: misery belt/shanty town/ghetto= favela. The name is enough to make you want to move there and dance some samba and drink some cachaça.


But yes, saudade. And home. And remembering things that will never be the same. Which is why you can never truly go home; I mean, you can go back to the place you grew up and see some friends with which you grew up or with whom you lived some cathartic periods of your life and whom you cherish (and they can be lame and not call you back, too– or perhaps you can be lame yourself and not call in the first place [sorry]); and while there, you can remember how a stretch of highway had beautiful spry eucalyptus trees that gave it a haunted air, and how said trees are now gone. Or you can remember the place where you got your Ugg boots wet almost up to the knee one night very long ago and where you realized with relief that those boots are truly waterproof. You can mourn the loss of beauty and you can long for the best ice cream in the whole wide world and you can crave the sound of the Pacific crashing against the rocks at night.

You can do all these things, and when you do you realize that your home is no longer your home– but at the same time you realize that it is. And also, of course, that home is….. uh…. where the heart is.

*violent nausea at expressing the prior concept*

But yes. Things stop being tangible and become memories and emotions and collections of views. And photographs. And memories– some of which may not even be yours. But you carry all those things in what we sappy humans like to call the heart.

I am in the throes of an intense saudade for California, and I haven’t even left.


I hope your Decembers are going well. I have missed you.

This entry was published on December 8, 2006 at 12:42 pm and is filed under Inner Lotus Blooms. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

3 thoughts on “You Can Never Go Back Home: Debriefing, Part One

  1. This is how I feel about Seattle whenever I go back–including the memories attached to specific places that are not always the way they once were but still stay the same in my mind, and the friends I’m not very good about seeing. And the utter beauty of it all.

  2. I know what you mean about feeling as you do about California. Everytime I go home and then have to get back on the plane for my return flight to D.C., I cry. Quirkiness aside, California is one of the most beautiful, holistic places I’ve ever lived. (And if I have my way, I’ll be living there again within the next year. I’m done with this nasty-ass town.)

  3. Patrick on said:

    Saudede -“sowdagi”… Must be the feeling that comes from being the rulers of the world one day and being one of the poorest countries in Europe the next. What’s so sad about our beloved central coast of California is that we can never really go back either in time or space. No jobs, no future, just palaces by the sea. I almost try to avoid thinking about it because the emotions are too great. Maybe I should just feel lucky that I was able to spend so many good times there…

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