nos·tal·gi·a [ no stáljə, nə stáljə ]
1. sentimental recollection: a mixed feeling of happiness, sadness, and longing when recalling a person, place, or event from the past, or the past in general
2. things that arouse nostalgia: something, or things, intended to arouse a feeling of nostalgia or to evoke the past in a way that arouses nostalgia
3. homesickness: a longing for home or family when away from either ( dated )
[Late 18th century. < modern Latin, “homesickness” < Greek nostos “homecoming” + algos “pain”]
There are times when I miss the Humboldt Bay area so much it hurts. So much that it is like a fist in my stomach, tears well up and I have to take a deep breath, just stop in my tracks for a minute and wait for it to pass. I haven’t been home since 2002 which seems like such a long time. I have lived in other places longer than I ever lived there, but it is still my home in a way that no other place on earth will ever be.
The air smells right there, in a way that no where else on earth smells. Mingled scents of forest and ocean, the cool grey fog and occasionally the funk of pulp mill coming from the bay. The streets and the structures there are imprinted in my cells. I don’t need a map to find my way about town. I have an internal compass, always orienting me towards home, never letting me lose my way entirely.
I’m desperately homesick. Nostalgic. I can’t wait to go home. And I am going home, finally, for a week at the end of this month.
The funny thing is? Part of me is really dreading the drive up there and I am dreading being away for so long. I will miss my little house in the San Gabriel foothills, I will miss my kitties and my dog. The idea of 2 days on the road with nobody else to share the driving does not charm and excite me the way it did when I was twenty and loved nothing better than the battle cry of “Dude! Road Trip!”
I think that’s just a matter of sucking it up and getting my head around enjoying the drive. I’m going to make it a slow 2 days, stay in a hotel and take the scenic routes (mental note: bring dramamine for the kids.) I will be driving up with the youngest, and the oldest will fly in about midway through the visit. I will take them to my favorite beaches, redwood groves, and marshes. We’ll walk on shady trails of russet and emerald and I’ll bitch that the blackberry vines are not ripe yet. Maybe we’ll see some elk.
There will be pictures.
I don’t actually have any good pictures of home myself right now. But I thought I’d link to some flickr streams from people I like who were recently up there. I don’t have permission to put the pictures directly in this post, but I do recommend that you take a look at them. They’re amazing.
This is where I came from. This is what made me. What I’m missing so hard today that I can barely breathe. It’s at times like this I think to myself that I want to just rent a moving van, throw us all into boxes and flee to the north. Then sanity prevails and I remember that the kids love LA, their dad is here, our lives are here, I love Pasadena and my little cottage in the hills, there’s no work in Eureka and also no pho.
Nostalgia sometimes just trumps sanity is all. I am glad I am going home this month. Not a moment too soon.