Monday, July 23, 2012

Why Are Brazilians Always So Sad?

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 Brazil 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

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 Rio 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 Rio, 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 Rio de Janeiro with images I’ve collected but never the truth. Perhaps this is saudade.

Cabralia, Bahai

photo by Delma Godoy

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting mood piece. Why are Brazilians so sad?