I wish I had so much more than words to describe saudade. A painter with a brush and canvas may do better. In Temporary Carioca I fought to describe the remarkable range of emotions I had never felt before, yet continue to feel after my six months there. Among those, there is one emotion I can’t get a handle on, saudade.
My first instance of saudade is the time when I heard the wheels lift off the tarmac and thump up underneath the body of the plane. I was startled that I was no longer attached to earth or Rio as the rest of
fell away into the night. I
could not turn back. I was now headed toward a distant place that would never
recognize me as the same man who had left Brazil
I have tried to describe saudade and the best I can come up with is that this Portuguese word confirms a deep emotional state of nostalgic longing for something or someone that one was fond of and which is now lost. The word often carries a fatalist tone; it acknowledges that the object of longing might really never return or be obtained.
Saudade remains a vague and constant desire for something that represents a turning towards the past, or in my case, rarely towards the future. A stronger form of saudade may be felt towards a lost lover as a deep longing or yearning for a relationship which no longer exists.
Saudade may have prompted this writer to begin this blog, even as I was flush with all the amazing things I was to see every day. For I knew that someday I would be far away wishing I had written everything down.
Surely other writers have found themselves in
re-energized and re-made after having lost their way in the world only to feel
saudade under the weight of knowing they would have to leave it someday.
Temporay Carioca is and was a recollection of places and events that once brought excitement, pleasure and well-being. Even thinking about these events can sometimes trigger the senses and take me back once again to the present, but only for an instant. Often, however, I am reminded these moments keep us locked in a past that no longer exists.
Perhaps I was just an intruder in
foolishly in love with something that remains foreign and overwhelming while
making me feel at home at the same time.
Perhaps I was just another in-between eccentric who may have endowed
with images I’ve collected but
never the truth. Perhaps this is saudade. Rio de Janeiro
photo by Delma Godoy
photo by Delma Godoy