Thursday, April 11, 2013

The highlands, the islands, and me. Day 11

Alba an Aigh — Scotland the Brave

With my brother, Clint Davies
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!”

Part 2. Where Tourists Go

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
Edinburgh Tattoo

Part 3. Where Tourists Don’t

to feel again the pull I felt
as soon as I arrived
when Scotland called me
from its deepest heart,
when being there was plenty:
just walking slowly, gently,
feeling Scotland talk to me alone,
the country recognized me
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.


hedgewitch said...

I loved this, Kay--especially all the 'technical' writing that you produced to justify a poetic feeling of closeness to the land and the past, showing that poetry is not only not a disease, it's a scientifically provable fact. ;_) Enjoyed it much.

Kay L. Davies said...

@ Hedge — Thank you. Your opinion and understanding mean a great deal to me.

Tammy said...

What a delicious sandwich. I enjoyed every morsel.

Kerry O'Connor said...

This is wonderful, Kay. I believe your experience of the old country 100%.

Kay L. Davies said...

@ Kerry — Thanks. I believe it 100% as well.

Mama Zen said...

“Don’t say ‘poet’ in that tone of voice, as if it’s a disease!”

That cracked me up, Kay! This is really well done.

Powell River Books said...

Maybe there's a genetic memory that makes me feel so at home in Canada. Relatives from both my mother and father immigrated to the States via Canada. And I think there are still a few distance relatives that stayed, but we've lost track of them over time. I've always felt like I was coming home rather than moving to a new place. - Margy

Ellecee said...

So well done and a wonderful experience for you to discover that Scotland is so much a part of you. And the info you gave us is really interesting too. I've heard poet said as if it were a disease too, but we all know differently now don't we :-)

Helen said...

This was entertaining, at the same time educational! Love it .. you and brother look SO alike.

Herotomost said...

Kayyyyyyyy!!!!!! How good was this. Damn girl, I ate that whole thing up. The patter of dialogue was amazing and I really liked the whole package approach. Very creative. I wish I knew where I was from. I feel the need to go to the island of Amazon women...maybe that is where my ancestors are I was born on the east coast and have never been back to visit, but it does call to me, everything I read that is based there just seems right. One day I will go. You really rose to the challenge and I appreciate that. thank you!

Margaret said...

Poet-itis, perhaps we all have. ha! I really do believe some places "call" us ... and it so could be genetic. I hear Scotland & Ireland are pretty powerful, emotionally. Well done, I really enjoyed this (and the photo of you and your brother!) Your look Scottish (or is that Irish?)

Kay L. Davies said...

@ Margaret — Well, we do have some Irish blood from somewhere back along our lineage, but I think we are more apt to look Scottish.
Clint's Dutch-born wife, the mother of two redheads, was surprised at all the people with red hair in Scotland (Clint was a redhead when younger) and we all laughed.

Marian said...

i love everything about this post, from the dialogue at the start to the way you broke it up with titles, to the science and the poetic. just love it. keep em coming, Kay! it feels like you are in creative overdrive.

Dave King said...

Yes, there is this pull from the land, and very powerful it is. Wherever it comes from, I felt it very strongly in your writing.

Penelope Postcards said...

Part 3: Where Tourists Don’t Go. I got wrapped up in your wonderful writing of that piece!

Kay said...

I just LOVE that photo of you and your brother. I can see the lovely resemblance between you two. You both have such lovely smiles.

Susie Clevenger said...

I love the photos and the lesson as well as your wonderful writing. Whenever I wish to see beyond my four walls I can stop by here and travel through your postings.