A Hug for Hiraeth

The beach today

A soft, soggy, misty morning. Nature is telling us that it is not a day to be casting our eyes to the horizon and far off lands. It is a day for looking down at our feet, wiggling our toes and being grateful for this moment, as nature wraps its wet arms around us and gives us a big slobbery kiss. Plonk! A kiss onto cheek, forehead, eyelids and lips! Let the future take care of itself, let it go and vanish into the mists where land and sky blend into our imagination. Stay and rest for the moment in the softness of the now, the wet, dampness of closeness as the rain gentle falls. So close is nature, it is smothering you with its gentleness; accepting, nonjudging, present – home.

Did you know?

There is a wonderful word in Welsh, ‘hiraeth’ which has no direct English translation but roughly means homesickness, nostalgia, or longing. For example, “I could not begin to put into words the hiraeth that the Welsh feel for the mountains and valleys of their homeland” But you don’t have to be Welsh to experience hiraeth, most people have at some point.

Sometimes you may feel pensive or sad for no obvious reason. You may sometimes feel an unexplainable yearning for imaginary or real places and people. Sometimes we can feel nostalgia for the home we used to live in or the experiences we used to have.

All these are examples of hiraeth.

A reflective moment

You can also experience hiraeth while looking into the sea. The boundless surface of the water merging into the sky, and the unreachable horizon. What is there beyond it? It’s the lands you’ve never stepped on, the lights of the cities you’ve never seen, and the foreign air you’ve never breathed. This is when you start to feel an inexplicable yearning for the places you’ve never been to and are not sure they even exist. Maybe they are just a product of your imagination.

Today receive a hug for hiraeth. Take comfort in the wet arms of the weather around you, the obscured horizon to shield you and the gentle lap of the waves that wash your feet, to be comforted in your longing: Don’t reach, just rest for a minute.

The sound of the beach today

Take the next minute to sink into the soft hushing of the waves. Let all ambition, wishing, longing, yearning and wanting fall onto the wet beach, to melt and dissolve into a pool, and run back down to the sea. Feel at home in the soft whisperings of the water, calling of the gulls and patter of rain drops. Time enough for tomorrows.

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