Saturday, November 02, 2013

Places Lost by Scott Walden

One of the photos from this wonderful book

A dear friend located a book I've been searching for a while and lent it to me. I finished it in a day and mourned over the photos of the remains of villages that were resettled in the fifties and sixties in Newfoundland. People wrenched away from their history, community and the houses their ancestors had built. All in the name of modernization and centralization. I've written stories about these uprooted peoples and talked to many of them whose hearts remain broken and who have inspired me with their memories and spirits.

One of the quotes from the book:

"As soon as each hour of one's life has died it embodies itself in some material object, as do the souls of the dead in certain folk-stories, and hides there. There it remains captive, captive forever, unless we should happen on the objects, recognise what lies within, call it by its name and so set it free."

Scott Walden, the author, writes of the difference between space and place. Only those who have lived in such places can give it memory and identity. Those of us who visit, see it as space only.

I think of the displaced people of the out-islands of Ireland, the Blaskets, the islands of West Cork and many more. Their stories are so similar to those of the abandoned outports of Newfoundland.

This song about the Blaskets says it all, and so very well, about resettlement:


7 comments:

  1. The uprooting of people from places they know and love is one of the saddest things. The thought of all the thousands of refugees on the move across the world is quite awful.

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  2. I agree Nick, we form huge attachments to places as they represent so much that is intangible. Fleeing in fear or desperation or need from a homeland must be horrific.

    XO
    WWW

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  3. This is something of how I feel about California, which is now a place that belongs to others.

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  4. That was a beautiful post and loved the song and the scenery of those islands.
    It used to be a tough life and there's no way I could face that little boat!
    Sad.
    Maggie x

    Nuts in May

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  5. Hattie:

    Interesting, does it hold a lot of your memories?

    XO
    WWW

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  6. Maggie May:

    I'm the exact opposite. I would love that excitement and the power of the sea in the little boat!!

    XO
    WWW

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  7. In India, displacement keeps taking place all the time with the relentless march of the all important Growth. Rural land is acquired to be converted into Industrial use and tribal lands acquired to extract coal and ore. The human cost is unquantifiable despite relocation and generous cash settlements as a way of life is destroyed and readjustment to an industrialised world is difficult often leading to alcoholism and other problems. But the growth hawks will have their way and they have a point to make as well as it is for the larger good.

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