Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The Home I've Never Seen

I dream of a place that maybe one day I'll visit. I know I'll feel right at home and welcomed as the prodigal son returning to his home.It's a place I've never seen and yet I feel know it intimately at least in my heart.
I know the day that I step foot on this place it will be like deja vu. I've been here before but not in person but in my dreams.
That place, the place of my ancestors is Scotland.
I am a Stewart. The descendant of William Stewart of the highlands. The Stewart name is as ingrained in Scottish lore and history as single malt whiskey and Scotland's famous lochs.
I wouldn't begin to try to describe my ancestral home because as songwriter Jimmy Buffet once wrote "Don't try to describe the ocean if you've never seen it" but it's a place I know I will be quite familiar with the minute I step foot on it's soil.
My family is many generations removed from the "Auld Sod" but returning to it is a quest and yearning I cannot ignore and return I will.
I think this poem by Jeanette Simpson best describes my heart.

Oh Scotland, My Heart

Oh, Scotland!
How I long to walk your highlands and your glens,
To watch the flowers in your meadows wave in the breeze,
To hear the ocean waves noisily kiss the shores of your western isles,
To sift the sands of your beaches through my fingers,
To see the rainbows after your showers,
And to feel your history surround me.

You are not the land of my birth.
You are the land of my ancestors' birth.
My ancestors, who were involved in your struggles to become a nation,
Who were there in your shining hours and your darkest hours,
Who sacrificed for you and were shaped by your story
Then later left you for reasons I do not know,
But my innermost being knows there were tears at the parting.

As the ripples and tides of the ocean shape the sands and even the shorelines over time,
So did the experiences of my ancestors ripple through the generations and shape me.
The whispers and shouts of their patriotism have flowed through my blood since my birth.
And, I long to know your history, to fathom the riddles of your past.
I cannot read enough or learn enough about you.
I want to experience every facet of you so that I may better understand myself.

I must have inherited a homesickness gene, one that pines for you at times
And feels incomplete without my connection to you.
Your music soothes an empty corner of my heart
When I am aching to be on your sod.
My love for you permeates my soul.

No, you are not the land of my birth,
But you are the land of who I am.
You haunt me; your magic pulls me.
Oh, Scotland! You are my heart!

1 comment:

  1. My family origins are the Douglases from Galloway, in SW Scotland. When I visit Galloway to fish the hill lochans, I feel a strange affinity to the land. Your instincts are probably right.
    Tight Lines!