Monday, 12 March 2012

What I Found In The Land Of Cinnamon Light.

Once upon a time, I found myself on the other side of the world, in a place of immeasurable beauty, a place that I went to in innocence, and that took hold of me with tender fierceness and made me look into the eyes of humanity with more clarity than I had ever before. A place that got right in under my skin, and swore to never leave my being, and at times I wonder had I carried it with me all along, from some other lifetime? A deep, untold mystery.

Lately, India has been in my ether again.

You know how it is. Something, a memory, seeps into your days unnoticed, like saltwater in the ground beneath your feet that slowly, slowly soaks, unnoticed. At first just the tender soles of your feet, unnoticed, then quietly inching, unnoticed, until one day you awake to find yourself adrift in it.

And then you see them, signs of it everywhere, somehow, inextricably everywhere.
A conversation, a meal, a reminder, a photo album, a meeting, a film, all unconnected and innocent in themselves, but the awakening reveals a bright, shiny, continuous thread that is now spread around me and I am adrift in it.


Why is this coming back to me now, I wonder? After almost two decades of quiet living, most of which was in a dreamy Mother~Land, it has come back to find me. Maybe I am ready to greet it again?

And while that trip is a story to tell, I am arrested with wondering about where these memories fit into my life today, and it has me thinking.
As our older two seem to be racing towards flying the nest and the time to let them go is just beginning to peer over the horizon, I think about how my parents did this, The Letting Go, and how something that seems impossibly huge in the distance surprises you when it arrives all small and humble and perfectly reasonable.
For each of those steps our children take are exquisitely formed, and timed to perfection, if only we have the courage to see it, but often our own fear blinds us and we clutch, without even knowing it.

As our Eldest faces his first serious exams in a couple of months, I find myself in new territory as a mother, and in a way I find myself at a loss. Here now, is something we cannot do for him, or even hold his hand for, (indeed he doesn't want us to), and yet he really is not finding it easy. It brings back shuddering memories of my own school experience, and the reminder is, I have to say, rather uncomfortable.
This child of mine is standing alone, for the first time, and all the silences and deep thinking do not go misunderstood by me and his father. It is frightening. He hasn't got to the exciting bit yet, and it is overwhelming, but he will. And I remind myself of that. How fleeting this time just is!

We get through it anyway, don't we? All of it. And our feet take us onwards, no matter what. And we find ourselves in places that we could never have imagined, hearing stories we can hardly believe, and our young eyes are opened and we begin to truly see the world and understand what we want to both take from it, and give to it.
But only because it is our feet and our eyes. The advice and experience of our parents and teachers have hopefully been stored away as a map, a guide, for when we need it, but ultimately it only comes through our own experience.

So this is a little Note To Self: They'll be okay!

I look at these pictures, almost twenty years old, and faded, some of them, and I think of what this experience meant to me at the time. It meant something very different than what it means to me now.
For now I am on the other side of it and I understand that the true value of these experiences is the fact that we are figuring it out for ourselves. And I will do the Letting Go when the time comes, and it will be easier than I think now. Because it will be the Beginning for him.

The first line I wrote at the beginning of this, now I read back over it, may indeed be read as a corny cliché:

'I found myself'.

At least, I found the beginning of myself, of who I would eventually become. And don't we continue Becoming, for the rest of our lives? I hope so anyway.

Where did you find yourself? That Beginning Of You? Was it somewhere far away, or somewhere unexpectedly familiar, something intense or something surprisingly soft? Did you know at the time, or is it only hindsight and time that allow you to see it?

I truly would love to know.

And now I know my own answer I think I may be ready to go back.


Anonymous said...

The graffiti in the first image is kind of interesting. Love that last one. Is that a camel?

the wild magnolia said...

meaningful backward glance
a grand sharing
thank you

Poetry24 said...

I love your philosophy, Ciara. The spirit of India has stayed with you. That's got to be a good thing.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I found myself in Glencoe.

Anonymous said...

oh i understand completely. i'm being pulled back to spain. it started about 2 months ago. what to do? what to do?

Mimi said...

Wow, so much in this post!
Beautiful photos, and their fadedness adds to the beauty.
Your words, ciara, as always, are beautiful. You have a poetic way of writing about the ordinary, making each word a thing of beauty in your sentence.
Exam season is a horrible time for kids, and I'm sure you'll support him wonderfully. We're on LC for 2nd time, and it will be a relief when it's over.

Susan said...

Lovely thoughts and images, Ciara. I have never thought of going to India. Susan

Unknown said...

This is such a beautiful post. Your photos are stunning, as are the images you weave with words.

I find that letting go is the most difficult and challenging part of parenting - the reward is watching our children soar when they are ready to take flight.

yew tree nights said...

I don't think I can find just one time or place for finding myself, it's been an ongoing process, but India also had a powerful effect on me.

I travelled across the north with my husband, and then he went home to Japan and I stayed on for a month more teaching girls in a boarding school / orphanage in West Bengal. I still remember my last day there, trying not to cry at leaving, racking my brain about how I could stay longer, promising myself that I would go home for my husband and then we'd return together. Oh, someday!

Wishing you and your son buckets of strength and good luck in finding and re-finding yourselves.

By Nela said...

I found your blog and I liked the content. From today I am a follower of yours, if you want to invite you to visit my blog, if you like it, I would like to have you as a follower on my blog to keep in touch.
For the translation, I have helped Google Translator
With warm regards.

Jess said...

That's quite a question.
Looking back, the beginning of me was when I had my first baby. Today as a grandmother I can see that now. I spent too long wondering who I was, what I should be doing. I don't think this ever ends. It's what keeps us alive and inspired. :)
Jess xx

Ada Beth Croft said...

Those pictures are beautiful! It's great you got to go to such an interesting place!

gz said...

Let them go and they return

GourmetGirlfriend said...

oh Ciara....
such hard hard times.
watching as your eldest goes through what we all did, understanding that he needs his space to travel on that journey in his own way.
All the while remembering your own....
And seeing beyond to that distant land that evokes memories of your own journey.
But all the while still mother to little ones too......
Motherhood really is a slow reveal isn't it....of what we are made up of.
Over the years and after all the distractions of mothering through the early days we are slowly able to reveal ourselves again & give back to ourselves a more thoughtful & connected spirit.
Bon COurage my dear friend.

Ciara Brehony said...

Thank you, my dear friends. With perseverance and love we are seeing positive results, slowly and in his own time. As he has always done.

Joshua, yes, a camel heading out into the Rajasthani desert, something I'd love to do again. A magical and mysterious place such as I'd never seen before. :)

Gigi Thibodeau said...

While I have never been to India and I have no children of my own, I certainly felt a deep sympathy with this piece and with the idea of looking back over the years to the place(s) and time(s) where we found ourselves. I think for me, it was the city where I am living now, the city I returned to just last year after, you guessed it, twenty years away. It had been calling to me for some time, and after a curious and rather painful string of events, I found myself facing the possibility of coming back here. The riches I have discovered since returning have been profound. I feel like I have only scratched the surface of what I will discover here . . . and wherever else I go.

You are such a wonderful mum, Ciara. I have a feeling the letting go will be painful, of course, but you will handle it with strength and grace.

These pictures are fantastic--you were so young, yet already seeing the world through such wise eyes.
xo Gigi

Kerry O'Gorman said...

I believe when you do a trip like this you really see yourself for yourself. There is no escape through friends or jobs or the daily routine that is your life. You learn to survive entirely on what you've learned up until then. I felt the same in Morocco when I was truly 'on my own'. You find out who this person is by living in the present of everyday surprises of a different culture.
And yes...they'll be okay!


What beautiful emotive writing...
You are so rich in spirit
Indian has such a strong pulling's a place I would love to visit ...some day...
Have a wonderful weekend my friend
LOVE PEACE enJOY the journey

Anne said...

Beautiful post! "The Land of Cinnamon Light" ~ I love that! Lovely blog! I'm a new follower!
Anne ♥♥

Megan said...

Hi Ciara,

Gigi Thibodeau, author of "The Magpie's Fancy," recommended your blog to me as inspiration for someone who is trying to find her place in the writing world, and I am so grateful she guided me to you! Your pictures are beautiful and your writing heartfelt and fulfilling. Everything you describe has such flavor and is comforting. Your posts are honest and real...I love how you self-reflect on your blog, but always make them relevant to what you saw in your backyard or something your readers can connect with. Reading your posts is like reading a story book, following your connections throughout the post as you move from one topic to another. Somehow, they always relate!

At the end of your post, you posed the question, "Where did you find yourself? That Beginning of You?" Honestly, I haven't found myself yet, and that's why I started my blog, "Crazy Dreamer," (which is still very amateur). I'm a 15-year-old girl who loves to write, reflect, and dream. My blog is inspired by the song "Crazy Dreams" by Carrie Underwood (perhaps you've heard of her?), and is all about following your heart no matter how absurd the road it points to may seem. Through writing and reading and exploring and visiting successful and beautiful blogs such as yours, I'm hoping to be able to one day find where I belong; what I'm meant to do, where I fit in this crazy world. Thank you so much for your post and inspiration and beautiful photography (have I said beautiful enough?). I love your title by the way, what's is inspired by? I look forward to following your blog.



helen said...

Great images of a incredibly beautiful place.

toko baju muslim murah said...

Thank you for posting this. It’s exactly what I was looking for!

Rehan Ahmed said...

Online Business as low as $1, Join Now and Get Best Business from Home without any work

Unknown said...

Get More News about Politicians of Pakistan, visit our this page for more details, President Pasban Pakistan Altaf Shakoor Official

Rehan Ahmed said...

Funny and Lol Pictures only on this online network in the world, online gags

Rehan Ahmed said...

Get Facebook Likes on your fb page, likes on your facebook pictures, followers on your facebook id, shares of your facebook posts, every thing is available here, visit for more details

Rehan Ahmed said...

Get Free Online Jobs from home, best ad clicking work, join now

Rehan Ahmed said...

Viewing the ads, playing games, upgrade plans, more earnings, referral earnings, bonus points and more, join now