Monday, September 27, 2004

Not just daffodils and lonely clouds... 

“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.”

From “Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood” by William Wordsworth

And to think that I thought Wordsworth was all daffodils and lonely clouds…

I took the train in to work this morning rather than cycle, so as to be able to snatch a few minutes to read more David Whyte. He quotes Wordsworth in the context of rediscovering and trusting our childhood instincts of direction in our lives. Here’s today’s extract:

“The inner compass almost always leads us back toward that childhood we have spent so much time trying to leave behind. We return there not to become a child again but to remember those instinctual joys which filled our imaginations and growing bodies and set our enthusiastic course into the world. There is something trustable about the original enthusiasms of the very young that point directly toward the way we are made.”

“…those instinctual joys which filled our imaginations…”

I scribbled down a list of them, as far I could remember those early years. Here’s what it looked like, given very little thought, just an instantaneous recollection of what it was like to be about seven years old:

Countryside - fields, woods, streams, lanes
Arthur Ransome books
Antarctic – snow, ice, blue, crystal skies, blizzards
Exploration/expeditions – mountains, landscapes, sailing, oceans
Climbing (as a physical activity)
Space travel
Making things
Mending things
Improvising things
Designing things

Hmmm… food for much thought methinks…

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