Sunday, 15 February 2009

Inherited Memory of the Basque Country?

The first time I visited the Basque, I both astounded and irritated my husband and son, in equal measure, by my oft-repeated mantra “I know this place”. As we journeyed about highways and byways of the Basque country the landscape seemed just shockingly familiar to me, a strong feeling of déjà vu or more correctly déjâ vécu (roughly translated as ‘having already lived through’) or could it have been inherited memory? Whether I believe in ancestral memories or not, and after this experience I am leaning towards belief, the consequence of this feeling was to make me believe I had returned to a long forgotten home.
The Basques say when God created Adam, he got his bones from a Basque cemetery, certainly the question of their heritage and genetics is still being researched, but all agree they are amongst the oldest Europeans with a language with no demonstrable genealogical relationship with any other living language. Basques have a close attachment to their homes and the family house names have transmuted in to Basque surnames, much the same as my own family who took the name ‘woodhouse’ or ‘wodehouse’ from the ancestral home in Wombourne, Staffordshire in the 13th century.
I love the Basque country and long to return for another psychic fix.


Magic Cochin said...

Love the sketches of the Basque houses - memories of our holiday in Saint Jean Pied de Port.


Red Clover said...

I remember visiting the UK several years ago, and rolling on a train through Scotland, while it made occasional stops. At one city I felt the greatest desire to get off, it was almost a need, as if this place was important to me somehow. I supposed, and was right, that I had family that had come from that place hundreds of years before. I had the same experience in a few other places, where I felt so at home that it was like being at my Grandmother's house. It's interesting, but I think that our ancestors are tied to us more then we think, like Malachi discusses about "turning the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to the fathers."

It sounds like you had a fantastic time in Basque...Isn't it great to live life in the hermeneutics?

Woodland Fay said...

Magic Cochin, Thanks for your kind critique. Have come to know Saint Jean Pied de Port over subsequent visits and love it along with it's valley and mountain pass above.

Red Clover, Loved your wonderfully detailed comment, although I admit I had to run for the dictionary to look up 'hermeneutics'. Thanks, a new word for my hungry appetite. Pleased you enjoyed your ancestral home experience as much as I, hope to see you here again.

Regards Fay

chaiselongue said...

Lovely post. Yes, this does happen - I don't know why, but it happened to me when I first came to this part of the Languedoc. For the first time in my life I felt completely at home and knew I had to live here. And now I do and I'm very happy here! No known family connections, but there were Celts here 2 millennia ago and I am Welsh! I hope you're able to go back to the Basque country soon. It's beautiful as your pictures show.

Rob (ourfrenchgarden) said...

Hi Woodland Faye,

I've yet to visit Basque country (I'll take the shame, it's not a million miles from here) but it's on the list.You mention the language, have you ever noticed that the letter X appears frequently in Basque in comparisom to other lanquages.

I'm staying tuned.

Woodland Fay said...

chaiselongue sorry to have been so late in thanking you for your enjoyable and interesting comment. I have been experimenting with some new pastels, a medium new to me. Hope you get chance to have a look at the results sometime in the future. Your own blog is most enjoyable and so bravely bilingual! In the meantime thanks for popping in, regards Fay