by Ruth Rookledge
Hiraeth is a longing, a longing for my spiritual home. That home is in the mountains where the wind speaks to me, calls my name, drawing me nearer and nearer.
The wind calls me to the stream. The stream that shows me clarity and energy. It teaches me about travelling life’s journey. It washes over rocks, it finds its way through boulders, it trickles over stones, it sometimes crashes over waterfalls and sometimes lays silent in pools, but mostly it gently flows. As the water passes me it knows not where it goes but beneath it the earth remains. I want to gently flow through my life, I want to flow over a safe path, and when there is the need to crash and fall over the rocks I want to find myself resting afterwards in a still and silent pool.
The wind calls me to the trees. The trees whose roots beneath the ground are strong although they are not visible, whose invisible is just as great as the visible. The trees show me the cycle of the year and show me reassurance. When all seems brittle and bear, almost dead some would say, then appear the first green buds which bring with them hope and promise. When the trees are green they show abundance and offer shade. As they prepare to rest for winter they show beauty for no other reason than to show beauty. The orange and yellow and red of the autumn trees are a reminder of light and beauty to carry forth into the bleakness of winter. The trees sustain out bodies with life giving forces, they also sustain our spirits and as they support each other so they support us.
The wind calls me to look upwards to the sky. The sky offers freedom and possibility. Each day it echoes the emotion of our lives and mirrors our spirits. The clear blue sky, the sun lights us warmly, our spirits are light and joyful. The grey sky, flat and characterless reflects the sad emptiness sometimes felt in life. The dark sky heavy with rain demonstrates the need to offload, to cleanse, refresh, to feed the earth and the soul. The thunder and lightning that relieve the pressure, that in their power give way to calm and fresh air. The evening sky which becomes washed with colour as the sunset fades, becomes pale and smudged, blurred and soft, preparing for that moment when the light fades when we can fade to sleep or to witness the night sky, the magic of the stars, the reassurance of the cycle of the moon.
The wind calls me to the earth. Beneath my feet is the earth from which life bursts forth. The seeds, the grass, the flowers, the grain. The soil, the pebbles, the rocks. The creatures who burrow, who crawl. The earth is my foundation physically and spiritually. I rejoice in the beauty and am in awe of the detail. The earth teaches me that life continues endlessly whether the land is fertile or hostile, there is always life, there is always beauty.
The wind calls me to the mountains. The mountains are the wild place and the journey to them is one of returning home. I feel protected by their might. In the mountains my spirit soars high as I soak in their power, I feel peace in their steadfastness. They hold reassuring power and offer perspective as the problems of our lives shrink against their height. I see both eternity before me and meet my past in the mountains. Here is my spiritual home, connecting me to the past, to the people who were before me, the people who understood the earth as we will never do unless we return.
Images by Ruth Rookledge