Hold the Space

I was travelling between 24th April and 6th May, which made the last leg of NaPoWriMo2018 a bit frantic and hectic. Travel is a bit of a brutality. Home is the reverse. Travel, however, does instruct. I was surprised by an attack of homesickness and nostalgia for Ireland that seems best expressed by the Irish word cumha. Yes, I missed my man, my very own Green Man, my Joyful Giver; but I also missed the land itself, the Celtic knottedness of home and belonging. It has happened before, but I rather discounted it. It is an identifiable pattern now.

Home is not birthplace or even where I hang my coat. It is the moss and tree limbs, stone, peat and clay of West Cavan. And as I was mentioning visiting Stonehenge and Avebury to a friend who has walked with me on the rocky Cavan Burren, he exclaimed, “What it is about you and stones?!” Cannot quite articulate a rational explanation just yet, Mick. But I have always slipped a pebble into my pocket, left them at graves even though I am not Jewish, gloried in fossils witnesed on beaches, threw an Irish pebble  into my parents’ Pennylvania grave. But wherever I go I play with stone. I found a sort of stone quern overlooking Merlin’s Cave at Tintagel. Someone had placed a shard of slate in it. I built a wee prayer cairn.

Hold the space
Travel breaks all habits. Home is the ritual space. Which includes getting back into writing routine, attending to the work diary, household chores. One can love one’s life. Being away and returning is a bit like falling in love all over again with everything that is beloved.

Hold the Space

On the page

In the room

With the body

Wholly present

Hold out your hands

Feel the atoms on your palms

Like dust motes


What is their rhythm?

Slow your heart

To beat

With them

In time

In that space


Beating in sync

The moment is the magic

Hold it, then

Release that fledgling

Into the wild

Copyright 2018 Bee Smith

10 thoughts on “Hold the Space

  1. As one of Bee’s companions on this recent journey, I see travel very differently, although I love the comfort and joy of getting back home to my own soul sanctuary. I try to be in the moment of place wherever I am; not indulging with comparisons with home. Each landscape is unique; each place imbued with its own personality … comparisons are, to me, superfluous. Incidentally, the ‘travelling is brutality’ quote, in its entirety, has a far different meaning for me than is implied the line quoted in isolation above. By stripping away the familiar, it opens one up to the essential abstracts of the universe. I give it below here, with a few others that have resonance for me…

    “No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.” – Lin Yutang

    ” Travel makes a wise man better but a fool worse.” – Thomas Fuller

    “Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comforts of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things. -air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky. -all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.” – Cesare Pavese

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Truly, there is joy one’s own pillow.

      While being present mindfully travelling has its joys, what surprised me this trip was the fierce force of the pull back to homeplace. As one born with what my mother called itchy feet, this was indeed mind-boggling revelation. I am under bewitchment perhaps.

      And I love the full Cesare Pavese quote. Thank you for posting it.


  2. But you felt the same when you went to Yorkshire last year, as I recall? So why surprised by it? I have spent many years researching the Celtic concept of longing for home… it began when I finally acknowledged an abstract yearning I had never been able to assuage. I then stumbled on the concept of belonging… and that led me to consider the Welsh concept of hiraeth, which I have spent 20 years both reading about and pondering. As an half-Irish Brit, the closest word in Irish that encapsulates it for me is deorai. I’d be happy to share more by email if you wish.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love your cairn at Tintagel. It’s hard to believe that a place I read about in a book of legends actually exists. How wonderful that you could go there.

    Also, this is beautiful and true:
    “Travel breaks all habits. Home is the ritual space.” I love traveling, but I need my home space to digest all experience, including that of traveling.

    Liked by 1 person

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