(Madang, Morobe Province)
Every year from May to July I get a humming in my bones. Somewhere between an ache and a pull, a sensation that I can’t quite feel but is always there, like a sound just above the human ability to register. It’s a longing to go home. Or perhaps more specifically and also more generally, a longing for the tropics.
The seasons change between May and July – everything turns slowly to summer. And in that in-between place, as the temperature shifts to a bold blaze of heat but the moisture from spring is still in the air and everything seems to be vibrating yet holding still in place, not quite ready to be in the midst of steady summer heat – it’s than that it feels like New Guinea. And Honolulu. Every place I’ve been in the tropics, for eight weeks or so in the United States as the temperature turns it feels like that.
I’d always get restless, in college and later, at a certain point in the year. It took me a long time to realize when, and why. But it seems to intensify and get worse with every year since I left New Guinea – a pull that creeps up slowly and stays as spring shifts to summer.
And I get this insane urge to make my way somewhere tropical, preferably home, but anywhere really that resembles it, that can promise it, this heavy air, this tease of tropical heat, the warm ocean and the humming of cicadas and or other insects, slow winds in palm trees, the smell of hibiscus and a faint scent of saltwater…anywhere with these conditions. I’ve been dreaming of Hawaii, lately – because home is so inaccessible. Can almost feel it sometimes around the corner, hitting me on a warm afternoon here in the Northwest as I leave an air-conditioned office and the weather can be felt, alive like a slowly shifting beast.
When you leave home, they never tell you that it will be the weather that will make you the most homesick.
I miss sea and saltwater and and especially humidity and a wild green manifesting itself firmly everywhere. Saudade, is what they call it.