Corner restaurant on a sunlit evening. Tribeca, New York City.
There are certain colors that dominate memory mixed on the palette of the mind’s eye with the hues from dreams and tones of nostalgia.
But it’s the tones of nostalgia that stand out the most: the penetrating longing for places and moments we have or have not experienced that creates a void in our beings so deep that its echo is felt in every moment and heard in every thought.
There are words for this type of nostalgia: sensucht and saudade. Sensucht is a German word that describes the emotional state of longing and yearning and saudade is a Galician- Portuguese word that describes a similar intense state of longing for something or someone. They can both be experienced as a longing for a place that is unidentifiable but somehow familiar and indicative of what we would most closely identify as home. Sometimes the yearning is so intense that only the emotional state is what we are aware of and it’s not always easy to tell that there is a deep yearning for something or someone at that moment.
New York City, for me, fills me with constant yearning with its colors and the way that light casts its glow on streets, brick, and the structures that fill in the image of New York City in my own mind. In the reds of the bricks I feel a longing for other cities I have not yet experienced and in the light that falls onto the street early in the evening I see the same light casting its glow on the spaces I wish to walk thousands of miles away.
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