Thursday, March 17, 2011

To Everything There Is A Season

Okay, there will be no more raining on this blog parade, I promise.  Thank you for indulging me in yesterday's sobfest, but now I'm done and my tears have been dried.  For lo, the sun is shining, it's going to be in the mid 60s today and in the low 70s tomorrow, and I have seen my family and friends.  All is well.

But also, you guys made me think.  And thinking makes me do research.  And doing research and writing pretentious essays about my discoveries makes me happy.  Also, graphs make me happy.

I googled "reverse culture shock" and got almost 400,000 hits, all of which said the same thing: while you've been gone, you have changed and so has home.  It's so obvious, isn't it?  Nothing stays the same.  As you move on so too does your home as well as those you've left behind.  It's inertia; an object in motion stays in motion unless acted upon by an outside force.  (Or something like that.)  Anyway, the point is that it's pointless to expect home to be the same as you've left it - and it's even more counterproductive to expect yourself to be the same person you were when you left home.  Of course, it's damn foolish to expect home to be the same and yet to somehow magically adapt to the person you have come to be.  I didn't do this at all.  No way.  Okay, maybe I did a little.  Or a lot.  [Expletive.]

So now I have the challenge of recognizing how much I've changed - believe it or not, introspection doesn't come gently to me - and the challenge of accepting how much home has changed.  Also, I have the challenge of seeing these changes as a good and natural thing, inexorable as the seasons.

Speaking of seasons, I really like the Evean Boland poem that Martha mentioned in her comment and, actually, it's resonating so much with me at the moment that I'm going to post an excerpt here:

I walked out in a summer twilight
searching for my daughter at bed-time.
When she came running I was ready
to make any bargain to keep her.
I carried her back past whitebeams
and wasps and honey-scented buddleias.
But I was Ceres then and I knew
winter was in store for every leaf
on every tree on that road. 

I honestly don't know, in my deliriously imaginative mind, if I'm Ceres or Persephone on this journey.  Maybe I'm both.  I think that we are all, in our own ways, possibly Ceres and Persephone at the same time and, possibly, even a little bit Hades, too.  What do you think?


  1. Reverse culture shock is interesting. I have it now. I've had it for the whole six months I've been back in America. I had it when I moved back from Germany. I don't think mine is so much in connection with things that have changed as much as it is in mourning for the exciting life I led abroad and, of course, my hatred of shopping plazas and extra-large sodas.

  2. What a wonderful post, I think we all experience the inevitable changes home undergoes while we are away at some time in our lives. It's always bittersweet but somehow beautiful it its own right.


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