13 Jul 2009

" Please," she said softly," could I go there now?"
She had a moment of anxiety, wondering if she would be able to go.
When she had been very small she had never wondered, the mere flash of a bird's wing, a snowflake looking in the window or the scent of a flower had been enough to send her back.
Lying in her cot, rolling about on a rug on the lawn, sitting in her high chair eating her bread and milk, she had gone back with ease to that other place.
And she had not exactly gone back , she had been lifted back by the small lovely sights and sounds and scents, as though it were easier for her to be there than here.
But now she was five years old it was easier to be here than there.
She could not go back without first secluding herself in some hiding-place such as the apple-tree at home, the rosemary tree at the manor-house garden or the willow-tree here, without climbing the steps to the door with the least suspicion of an effort, and that little pang of anxiety lest today she might not be able to make the effort.
And always at the back of her mind nowadays there was the fear that the day might come when not only would she be unable to make the effort, but that she would not want to go back...
But that time was a long way off yet, and meanwhile with relief and unspeakable joy she found herself making the effort and climbing the steps.
They were silvery steps and might have been made of light, and they led to the low small door in the rock that had a knocker on it...
A year ago the door had opened at once, but now she sometimes had to wait a little, and just occasionally felt worried lest this time it should not open...
She knocked, waited a moment, the door opened and she stepped through into the branch of swaying blossoms. Beside her was the dove, and they swung together in the still grey peace."

from The Rosemary Tree by Elizabeth Goudge 1956

Can you remember being that little person, round about the time you started school?

When your little dreamy world was beginning to change?

I found this whole passage about a little girl called Winkle brought back such strong memories for me of the time in my little life when I was beginning to awaken more to the world and my own little world was moving away from me.

Childhood, early childhhood is such a precious time.

And it always brings to mind these lines from William Wordsworth ,
Intimations of Immortality
from Recollections of early Childhood.

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:

The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
Shades of the prison-house begin to close
Upon the growing Boy,
But he beholds the light, and whence it flows,
He sees it in his joy;
The Youth, who daily farther from the east
Must travel, still is Nature's priest,
And by the vision splendid
Is on his way attended;
At length the Man perceives it die away,
And fade into the light of common day.