Gerald O’Hara: Do you mean to tell me, Katie Scarlett O’Hara, that Tara, that land doesn’t mean anything to you? Why, land is the only thing in the world worth workin’ for, worth fightin’ for, worth dyin’ for, because it’s the only thing that lasts.
Scarlett O’Hara: Oh Pa, you talk like an Irishman.
Gerald O’Hara: It’s proud I am that I’m Irish, and don’t you be forgetting, missy, that you’re half Irish, too. And to anyone with a drop of Irish blood in them, why the land they live on is their mother. It will come to you, this love of the land. There’s no gettin’ away from it if you’re Irish
The quote above is from the classic movie Gone with the Wind, one of my all time favorite movies since I was eight years old. And this quote has always been one that has stood out to me as the half-Irish lass I am. I hold many things dear in my life…my family, my friends, my books, but none speak to me as much as land.
More than several times I have walked historical fields and felt the history of the those who came before me. I know it sounds strange and I’m not normally a metaphysical person at all, but I do believe that you can sense things from the certain places. My first instance of this happened when I was a little girl first visiting the Lexington battle grounds, in Massachusetts, where the first shot of the Revolutionary War was fired. It was probably my imagination, but I swore I could hear cannons and wails of those who perished. I remember feeling an eerie wave of sadness, and shivers connecting with the land beneath my feet.
The second time I felt this same eerie wave was in Washington, D.C. on the mall between the Washington Monument and Congress building. I was only ten or eleven, but the same kind of thing happened, I started wondering how many vastly historic figures stood right on the same spot where I was. In my mind’s eye, I saw men in bowler hats and fedoras, and women in long, bustled skirts, crossing the very paths I was on.
Since then, this same thing has happened over and over again, but none as emotional as visiting Salem, Massachusetts. Stepping into the small town, where once everyday people were condemned to death as witches and warlocks, I began to shake with fear and nervousness. There was an oppression there I had never felt before, tearing at my soul to the point where I couldn’t help but cry. I remember crying to a friend who was with me and saying, I didn’t know why I was so upset. My spirit was bothered, and I think it was because of so many who had panicked and were killed on that very land.
It wasn’t long after I had visited Salem, I started a strange collection. A collection of rocks, dirt, sand, and even water from all over. I have sand from Mykonos, Greece; rocks from the Grand Canyon, Arizona; water from the Jordan River; sand from Saudi Arabia; rocks from Brighton Beach, UK… and so many other places around the world. Today though, I received the land of my ancestors – dirt and rocks from the Cliff of Mohr, in Ireland! My people, my land! And all thanks to a dear friend of mine, Gabrielle Morgan. You don’t know how much this means to me. It inspired me to write this today and recall those beautiful words from Gone with the Wind. Thank you so much for bringing me closer to land in which my blood began to flow.
…And to anyone with a drop of Irish blood in them, why the land they live on is their mother.