Nostalgia may be bittersweet
By SALLY Y. HAYES
Mt. Pleasant News
Nostalgia was knocking at my door as the cool, damp weather rolled in earlier this week, before last night’s blanket of snow tucked us in while we slept. The drizzle outside the window yesterday brought me to yearn to return to the Emerald Isle – where a cup of hot tea was often at hand and a trusty raincoat was always within arm’s reach.
But, nostalgia can be bittersweet. After all, the word nostalgia is rooted in two Greek words, νοστος (nostos) and αλγος (algos). Nostos is often translated to a sense of homesickness and algos means pain or grief.
Remembering the good times often brings one looking for a chance to go back to yesteryear with no means to do so, no time machine is packed away in the hall closet next to that trusty raincoat. While telling tales of times gone by, smiles are frequently worn upon the storyteller’s face, but a twinge of heartache for the past often follows suit.
Perhaps it is that nasty travel bug that bit me when I was younger that has given me this fever to collect more stamps in my passport. Or perhaps it’s this weather that simply has me wishing to return to the west coast of Ireland, in a little town called Ballinafad, near Sligo.
While in Ballinafad I was one of nearly 35 college students, American and Irish, assisting in the archaeological excavation of Kilteasheen, an ecclesiastical center and medieval church in County Roscommon. We often had to halt work, cover the cuttings with sheets of plastic, seek shelter under a nearby tree and wait out the inevitable rain.
On site we partook in customs of the area. In addition to a lunch break, we had a tea break each morning and another each afternoon, with biscuits of course.
This rainy weather in Henry County the past few days has brought me to steep some tea and remember that summer excursion. While sipping tea it always seems like yesterday I was across the pond. Alas it has been nearly four years.
If given the opportunity to travel to Ireland, seize it. Dublin is nice, but I recommend visiting the smaller towns as well. Kilkenny is home to some of the most magnificent stained glass, found in Black Abbey. Strandhill offers surfing and Queen Maeve’s Cairn atop Knocknarea. And Galway, home of the Claddagh ring, has nightlife with live music found in a pub on nearly every block.
This onset of nostalgia has me craving the food, the accents, the landscape and the adventure that traveling has to offer.
Perhaps a trip abroad will cure me of this fever. Italy has always been on my wish list of destinations, as is Puerto Rico, Brazil, Germany and Nepal. Any suggestions?
However, while away I always seem to find myself a bit homesick and enjoy that initial step through the backdoor of home.