The dream I had been living for most of my life.
Hiraeth is waking up late on Sunday mornings, when the sun light lays its warm, dainty hand on your cheeks and chides you to open your eyes. It is the hot chocolate milk your mother prepares for you at the breakfast table. The dry scraping of broomsticks against the floor as your father cleans the garage. It is the loud 80s music blaring from the stereo. The spicy tangy smell of fried rice being flipped over. The admonishing growl of a dog when it caught a cat stealing its meal. The bright, overcast living room of large windows which sunlight had completely taken over, leaving white fireworks to the eyes.
Hiraeth. It is opening your first book, discovering the world behind words. It is realizing that reading by your thoughts is better than reading it out loud, and hating your teacher for it. It doesn’t matter if you completely understand every word; the smiles of the princesses and magical horses are very patient. The dragon won’t attack yet. The prince won’t come in dashing until you flip the next page. They will wait for you until words can finally pull you in, so you can go in a wild adventure, to save a village from a hungry giant, to accompany a group of friends as they search out for the lost items stolen by the Green Ogre.
Hiraeth is to dream. To dream of the beautiful alps and snowy mountain caps. To dream of bathing in a flurry of cherry blossoms at the onset of Spring. To catch a snowflake by your tongue. To go treasure-hunting in the wildest parts of the Arizona. To watch a maple leaf turn red. To make a snow fairy. To lie on the sands all day and let the waves tickle your flesh. To climb at one of the world’s highest peak and watch the sun rise. Hiraeth is setting your eyes to a distant horizon, desiring to escape.
Hiraeth is having to sit under the Christmas Tree, thanking Santa Claus for the beautiful doll house and promising to be good for another year. It is having to eat with the whole family, happy and complete. It is giving your mom and dad a handwritten Christmas card, hoping they would like the short poem or the small drawing you painstakingly did at the bottom.
Hiraeth is the rustic smell of a freshly-sharpened pencil. The first bell at school. Of having to put your hand on your chest and pledging to die for your country. Hiraeth is that first star on your fist, the smiley face on your test papers, as well as the scary red ones. Hiraeth is the scrunched-up cupcakes at the pocket of your bags, the sweat clinging to your uniform after a game of tag, of stolen kisses and shy giggles in the playground.
A hiraeth may not be a memory. It may be a feeling. More than anything, it is more connected with your sense of feeling rather than times of remembering. It is a muse that whispers at you to dream on, to imagine and to feel. To put yourself in the shoes of another person, a friend or a stranger. It is the grief of an old widow whose son died in a fever at their lonely cottage. It is a moment of triumph for a bare-footed girl who first cut the ribbon in a marathon. It is having to go home in your little house beside the stinky river at the edge of the slums. It is having to be driven to your mansion by a chauffeur clad in white in a glass-tinted car.
A hiraeth is a longing. It is a lack of control. It is the facet of your dreams, a stagnant lake of your desires. To have it is a sign that you’re weak and you’re incomplete. It is a sign that you’re human. More than any sentiments or daydreaming, it provides you with a pleasurable escape that would eventually leave you empty. Such is the mystery of human desire. We always yearn for what had transpired and what could have been, not necessarily on what matters.
Picture (c) Word Porn