Today waking up to a gorgeous morning here in Paris, I was overcome with the sweet sensation of SAUDADE..
That same sensation that I had known, even since I became a traveler… Even though I had gone on trips before I became a Traveller, I distinctly remember leaving London on a trip to the Far East, from which I am yet to return! Home bases have changed: London, Miami, Havana, Baracoa, Paris.. I toyed with the idea of staying a little in Yangon, Malacca, Siem Reap or Cochin… but the heart goes back to where the mind belongs..
I am not in search of anything, what I want I find in their usual congruous places, lucky to be associated with Native Americans, who has a good sense of what is False and what is True! Not a single day goes by that I am not in Cuba physically, emotionally or intellectually.. Visits to the North American Indians gives me a chance to transit through Miami, where I feel very much at home…A chance meeting in Siem Reap in Cambodia has given me a home in Seri Kembangan in the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur… so the four directions in my life at the moment, geographically speaking are: France , Cuba, American Indians and Kuala Lumpur…
Then why this saudade?
What is Saudade? It is my favourite word, in any language..
Let me give you the definition given by others and then I will add my own…..
Significa en portugues un afecto interior; una ansia por ver la cosa amada, un pesar por no tenerla presente, y, en fin, en esta palabra estan comprendidas una fuerza de amor y otros conceptos que en ninguna otra lengua pueden expresarse
Antonio Sousa de Macedo Lisboa 1631
…sabe expresar con mucha mayor fuerza y energia la constancia del amor ausente…
João Baptista de Castro Lisboa 1752
Tom Jones by Tom Fielding (chapter 11 Para 4)
The remembrances of past pleasure affects us with a kind of tender grief like what we suffer for departed friends, and the ideas of both may be said to haunt our imagination..
Let me add mine:
It is that sensation of an impending loss of something, even before you had a chance to posses it..
I am leaving Paris tomorrow morning and LX 64 Air Bus 340-300 will bring me to Miami at 1730…I will be leaving the specific affections of Paris, sweet, tender and gentile and innocent and walking into the strong, binding affections of Miami.
So, dear friend 11 am French Time, I would be raising my flute of champagne, don’t tell me it is too early for a flute, but this time it would be a homage of the beauty of lives lived.. my four different lives…
I am an Anthropologist (visiting Professor at the University of Havana and a practicing applied anthropologist among American Indian tribes) and it was Turner who introduced the term after his work with Ndembu in Zambia (borrowed from the dutch anthropologist, rites des passages )… LIMINALITY.. You are neither there, nor here. All of tomorrow, I would be neither in Europe and nor in America but two arrows would tether my affections to both…
I find the concept of Liminality a very good one, to explain the confusion that people, young and old suffer, trying to figure out who they are…
I pay homage to my Mexican Indian friends.. who have no problems with their identity.. when they are in Mexico, they don’t become Mexicans and when they come to usa, they don’t become north American… they are Indian… they are so lucky…
Exactly one month from tomorrow, just about the same time , my flight would be descending into the Kuala Lumpur airport.. It has been a long six months away from Asia… my fourth direction of a home..
This morning when I received a note from Brasil, I felt such a soft feeling for that country.
I will reproduce here something I wrote sitting at a café in Quito in 2000 and follow it up with a poem by that greatest poet of 20th century, from Our America (Marti) and Our World, Pablo Neruda..
CAFÉ MAGIC BEAN, QUITO,ECUADOR
4 JUNIO 2000
It is such my friends
The end is always the same
Whatever had happened
The beauty, the magic,
What does saudade matter?
All that you could give each other
Only tore you apart--
A manha será outra dia…
What images pass through
This crystalline heart of mine
Fragrances that were forgotten
How could one not remember such knots of passion?
Where was that?
How could one not forget?
I have looked high and low for the poem by Pablo Neruda but cant find it, mainly because I cant remember its title, I thought it was Exile. In any case, the one important line that I remember from that poem was:
Una alma sin raices es un ainjusticia
A soul without roots is an injustice.
It is like a ship without anchor, goes where the wind blows until it finds its own harbour..
Wandering around the world is fine, but always remember who you are, your own identity, but not a constructed one.. and then you can reach your destination otherwise you will be just going in a direction that others want you to go…