Theme Thursday: Orange

Oct. 17, Feast of St. Ignatius of Antioch, bishop and martyr; patron of the Church in the eastern Mediterranean, the Church in North Africa, and throat diseases.

Generally, I only like pure orange in the context of autumn.  As a winter, spring, or summer color, it's brazen and hot, obnoxious and reminiscent of the clashing colors of the late 70's.

So you'd think I wouldn't miss with a mourning ache the color of leaves turning; the bonfire heat and orange-blush of roasting apples; pumpkins that pop from out of white sheets of frost.  I do.  I miss it so, so much.

It's funny because I only lived in the Midwest--and even then, in a place that was really wooded with Goldengroves unleaving--for a handful of years in very early childhood.  But Tolkien talked about ancestral memory; and it fits my mood and personal mythology to say that the northern blood runs copper-bright in my veins, overpowering the mellow Mediterranean of my more recent ancestors, and drawing me to those paleolithic calenders, interwoven with the seasons, like a moth to a flame--so that when I first set foot in the British isles, it was like coming home again after a long journey.

The Welsh have a word for that inconsolable longing: hiraeth.  It translates roughly to nostalgia, but there is no direct equivalent in the English language.  This fading season is hiraeth's incarnation--a brilliant, sharp, painfully joyous passing--while at the same time being in and of itself only a herald of it.  Sweet, sorrowful parting.  Longing for a home not yet found.



  1. Love. Love love love. Mad props to the Welsh for having a better word for that longing than English does. The closest I've come in our language is John Eldredge's "the haunting." I'll have to remember hiraeth.

    1. Or Lewis called it "joy"! The first time I read that, I was floored. I was like, I know that. I Know THAT.

  2. I really enjoy the framing of your photos! Very nice!


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