Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Memories of springtimes lost

By Aussiegirl

Because it's spring, and because spring always brings its own sweet nostalgia, let's take a moment out of the disturbing events taking place throughout the world and read a beautiful meditation and memoir written by poet/writer/novelist Amil Imani that appears in the Persian Mirror.

Ultima Thule recently linked to a beautiful love song to America, penned by the same author who lives in America, but naturally pines and longs for his homeland, a homeland that sadly may not even exist except in his own fond memory.

Such is the case for most exiles from their beloved homelands. Perhaps Americans cannot understand this kind of feeling because they have never been forced to flee their beloved country and to live in an alien culture, no matter how welcoming and beloved -- still -- it is not home -- and home, as we well know, is where the heart is -- and where a man's heart is there is his treasure also.

I understand this kind of longing, even though I have never lived in Ukraine. But my parents were forced to leave their homeland and to wander the world in search of refuge, which they found in the generous and welcoming land of America.

My own mother and father imbued me with a great love for Ukrainian culture, music, its literature and tragic history. One can't help but love this unfortunate country, ill-used by her oppressors -- an image that the great poet Shevchenko used time and again -- Ukraine as the beautiful innocent girl who is seduced and abandoned by her lover. This love is like a pain, but a beautiful pain which one returns to time and again.

Perhaps we all feel it when we think of the lost country of our childhood -- when one hears an old song, or a bit of poetry or thinks of days gone by never to return.

Yet still, reality intrudes on our nostalgic memories and recently my mother said to me - "What is the Ukraine I love? When I lived there I knew nothing but poverty, famine, repression and misery. And now, it has become something I do not recognize. The Ukraine I love does not exist -- and maybe never existed except in my own heart -- as an ideal."

Similarly, I left Australia as a child of nine. And to me Australia is forevermore that lost land of childhood enchantment that I long for and return to in my memories and dreams. It too, no longer exists, the Australia of my memories. Perhaps Thomas Wolfe said it best when he said "You can't go home again." and perhaps he should have added, except in our dreams and memories.

Like me, Mr. Imani loves two countries, and yet finds that he is not completely at home in either. I love America as well, and as often as I love it I curse its ignorance and its naivete -- so it is a temperamental love. Each of us has one foot in two cultures, but perhaps, like all men we belong to that greater culture, the universality of truth, beauty and faith -- the true home of all righteous and feeling people.

Do take time to read this poetic and beautiful love song to the soul's desire to reunite with all that is inevitably lost in living, lost love, lost country, lost youth, lost dreams -- and yet -- spring comes and hope is always renewed -- that is the miracle of faith -- and of the God-given life that is our inheritance. Happy spring!

The Modern Magazine for Persian Celebrations, Cuisine, Culture & Community

Today is the first day of spring. I am drowning in my thoughts and in the longing that I have had for so long to return home and breath the-air on the streets of Tehran. I have this feeling every year at the same time, on the first day of spring. If you have never been homesick, then you don't know what it is to be homesick. You don't know what it means to feel this sense of loss, this pain of nostalgia.

The mere fact that there is so much noise and movement "Jonb-o-joush va Hayaahoo" and so much life...makes me want to go back in time. I recall when I was a kid, and how happy and invigorated I was; without any reasons. I couldn't wait to try out my new garment and go to my grandparents' home. Oh, even thinking about those days bring me close to shedding tears.

My grandparents are long gone; the country I used to know, everyone tells me, is not the same. But, a man must have a purpose to live and I have always lived in hope to be back home. Perhaps I am afraid to find out that ... that it isn't what it used to be; perhaps I am afraid to shatter my memories, the memories of my childhood on the streets of Tehran. Perhaps I am afraid to become even more dejected. I guess I am crying out-loud, and that's just fine because this is how I feel now, on the first day of spring.


At 4:42 PM, Anonymous scribe said...

Some Americans do under the loss of country--the America I knew as a child is not the one I see now. My people have been here long before the US began.

My grandparents lived in a small town that faded away--the cemetery is in better shape than the town itself, which is mostly a ruin. As they drew near to their end, I could see that they were bewildered by all the changes and deeply missed the way things were. Old customs and mores mostly died with their generation, especially after the advent of TV, which flattened all the accents and attitudes into a commercialized and very much cheapened version of the American dream.

It was a slow death, but it has disappeared as surely as if some foreign army had invaded it and imposed an alien culture. So much has been forgotten or perverted--it's getting hard to recognize my country anymore.


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