I love returning home, almost more than going away. Traveling itself is also something I really enjoy. I have a strong feeling that my main reason for it is coming home to my “Heimat”, because it just feels so good. “Love your Heimat” has become a slogan of mine over the years. It immediately comes to mind when I leave the house to go into fields and forests to take photos or for just being out there.
The area I grew up in, and where I’m living now again, is beautiful. As a child I would always roam the forests, climb trees and follow the little stream to its water mouth into the river. I still enjoy doing these things, and am really grateful that I haven’t lost it on the way growing up. I can still remember many days of my childhood, they were full of warm summer rain (you will forever remember this special scent once you’ve experienced it) and wonderful tranquil indian summer evenings, walking barefoot on tarred roads, which are still warm from the heat of day. The feeling of freedom was everywhere around me. In winter, there would be crisp cold days with clear air and the snow would crunch under your feet.
I am thankful that I can remember those days, and that I still can notice all these things and gain strength from them. I even can put these feelings into pictures now. There’s nothing more fulfilling than walking around my “Heimat” with my camera and taking photos of moments, nature and all creatures, whatever I come across on the way. Sometimes I just stand and absorb it all. I always come across new things on well-known paths, and I also come across unknown spots in areas I thought I knew well.
Whereever you are, whatever “Heimat” means to you, take notice of the feeling, foster it, nourish it and pay your “Heimat” a visit as often as you can. This can be mentally, just thinking about it, or actually going there and explore it. It is always rewarding, you will get something back, indescribably beautiful and intense, you just have to really listen and become aware of it.
I love the description of “Heimat” that wikipedia offers. The term doesn’t exist in the English language, so this is how they put it:
Heimat (pronounced [ˈhaɪmat]) is a German word with no English equivalent; it denotes the relationship of a human being toward a certain spatial social unit. The term forms a contrast to social alienation and usually carries positive connotations. It is often expressed with terms such as home or homeland.
The meaning of Heimat
Heimat is a German concept. People are bound to their heimat by their birth and their childhood, their language, their earliest experiences or acquired affinity. For instance, Swiss citizens have their Heimatort (the municipality where the person or their ancestors became citizens) on their identification. Heimat as a trinity of descendance, community, and tradition—or even the examination of it— highly affects a person’s identity.
My “Heimat” looks like these pictures. But it is much more, it is in the freedom that I feel when I listen to my inner self. I can really feel the pictures that are in there, that are stored there forever, as well as the safe feeling to be able to get them out whenever I need them and look at them with my inner eye.