Alba an Aigh — Scotland the Brave
Part 1. Brotherly Love
“Far be it from me, your nearest sibling, to suggest you’re gullible, but...”
“Oh, sure, far be it from you! I tell you, I could feel it. I could.”
“We’d just gotten off that sardine can that Air Transat called a plane...”
“I know, I know, and it was nice to be let loose, but it wasn’t just relief I felt, it was more, much more.”
|Richard Schear photo|
Venice, Italy, 2013
“Excitement, then. We talked about visiting there all our lives. Of course you felt something.”“It wasn’t excitement. Excitement was that time we rode the train by ourselves when we were kids. This was a calm feeling, it just felt right. I tell you, it was genetic memory.”
“At the risk of mentioning your gullibility again, you never thought of genetic-anything from the time you studied the monk Mendel and his pet guinea pigs in junior high, until last month when the Brits cloned that sheep they call Dolly. That’s probably what put the whole idea in your head. Face it, you’re not a scientist, you’re a dreamer, a writer, a poet...”
“Don’t say ‘poet’ in that tone of voice, as if it’s a disease!”
I want to see the highlands
and the islands
I want to see Loch Lomond
and Loch Ness
to hear a single piper
play a pibroch on a hill
and a hundred pipers
marching at the
Part 3. Where Tourists Don’t
to feel again the pull I felt
when Scotland called me
from its deepest heart,
when being there was plenty:
just walking slowly, gently,
feeling Scotland talk to me alone,
as one of its lost souls
and welcomed me
returning to its folds
“Aye, lass, it’s you,” it told me
and let its arms enfold me
until I knew for sure
that I was home.
Part 4. Scientific Theory
In psychology, genetic memory is a memory present at birth that exists in the absence of sensory experience, and is incorporated into the genome over long spans of time. It is based on the idea that common experiences of a species become incorporated into its genetic code, not by a Lamarckian process that encodes specific memories but by a much vaguer tendency to encode a readiness to respond in certain ways to certain stimuli.*
Genetic memory is invoked to explain the racial memory postulated by Carl Jung. In Jungian psychology, racial memories are posited memories, feelings and ideas inherited from our ancestors as part of a "collective unconscious".
In contrast to the modern view, in the 19th century, biologists considered genetic memory to be a fusion of memory and heredity, and held it to be a Lamarckian mechanism. Ribot in 1881, for example, held that psychological and genetic memory were based upon a common mechanism, and that the former only differed from the latter in that it interacted with consciousness.
* These italics are mine.
Corey, known as Herotomost at the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, where he certainly is a hero to many, has challenged us to "write a narrative about a place that is special" and "sandwich the narrative between two pieces of dialogue."
Because Corey said our narrative could be scientific, I transferred that permission to the outside of my "sandwich" where it fit best.
This challenge was a lovely surprise following an e-mail I wrote to a friend in the UK this week. She had asked me about my favorite place in my many travels, and I mentioned the gentle, pleasant, homecoming feeling I think of as genetic memory, when told her why I chose Scotland.
|Common toad, Scotland|
I was there with my parents, siblings and siblings-in-law in 1996. I think I was the only one to feel the strong pull of the land as soon as we left the plane, even though both of my parents are one generation closer to our Scottish heritage than I am.
This is my submission to Day 11 of the April poem-a-day challenge at the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads.