They say that childhood forms us, that those early influences are the key to everything. Is the peace of the soul so easily won? Simply the inevitable result of a happy childhood. What makes childhood happy? Parental harmony? Good health? Security? Might not a happy childhood be the worst possible preparation for life? Like leading a lamb to the slaughter.
I always recognize the foces that will shape my life. I let them do their work. Sometimes they tear through my life like a hurricane. Sometimes they simply shift the ground under me, so that I stand on different earth, and something or someone has been swallowed up. I steady myself, in the earthquate. I lie down, and let the hurricane pass over me. I never fight. Afterwards I look around me, and I say, 'Ah, so this at least is left for me. And that dear person has also survived.' I quietly inscribe on the stone tablet of my heart the name which has gone forever. Th inscription is a thing of agony. Then I start on my way again.
There is an internal landscape, a geography of the soul; we search for its outlines all our lives. Those who are lucky enough to find it ease like water over a stone, onto its fluid contours, and are home. Some find it in the place of their birth; others may leave a seaside town, parched, and find themselves refreshed in the desert. There are those born in rolling countryside who are really only at ease in the intense and busy loneliness of the city. For some, the search is for the imprint of another; a child or a mother, a grandfather or a brother, a lover, a husband, a wife, or a foe. We may go through our lives happy or unhappy, successful or unfulfilled, loved or unloved, without ever standing cold with the shock of recognition, without ever feeling the agony as the twisted iron in our soul unlocks itself and we slip at last into place.