The mind of the child is always captivated by the idea of hidden beauty or lost riches. He dreams that he may discover some forsaken garden or a cave filled with rare treasures. Perhaps it is that he is born with a sense of the loss of Eden. Some lose that sense and search no more for their secret gardens, but for others, it can become a quest for the Grail.
– L.T. C. Rolt
One of my first childhood memories, which begins to seem more and more important to me with every year passing by, is the garden. As a child I had a lot of appreciation for bugs, especially butterflies, telling everyone that one day I will become a lady butterfly which probably meant that I’d like to study entomology. Nevertheless looking for these small creatures with my mom’s little guidebook in hand, was, as I see it now, more about truly getting into the garden.
In this continuous adventure to the faraway land awaiting me in my own garden, I was often having a feeling of foreknowledge which C. S. Lewis describes in his autobiography as joy.
It is difficult to find words strong enough for the sensation which came over me; Milton’s ‘enormous bliss’ of Eden (giving the full, ancient meaning to ‘enormous’) comes somewhere near it. It was a sensation, of course, of desire; but desire for what?…Before I knew what I desired, the desire itself was gone, the whole glimpse… withdrawn, the world turned commonplace again, or only stirred by a longing for the longing that had just ceased… In a sense the central story of my life is about nothing else… The quality common to the three experiences… is that of an unsatisfied desire which is itself more desirable than any other satisfaction. I call it Joy, which is here a technical term and must be sharply distinguished both from Happiness and Pleasure. Joy (in my sense) has indeed one characteristic, and one only, in common with them; the fact that anyone who has experienced it will want it again… I doubt whether anyone who has tasted it would ever, if both were in his power, exchange it for all the pleasures in the world. But then Joy is never in our power and Pleasure often is.
― C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life
This foreknowledge happens to me still from time to time but not as often as I was experiencing it as a 6 years old child. What’s inquisitive, this time of my life is also connected with a comprehension of death. I was very ill, the doctors were even suspecting cancer but fortunately it turned out to be something curable. Nobody actually was ever talking with me about death but the knowledge of the end of life kind of grew in me naturally.
I always had also a very strong feeling of being connected to some other world, space or person which nowadays I consider as a kind of suspicion about the previous life. I don’t know if I believe in reincarnation and if this presentiment has anything to do with the age of my soul but I feel that I must be a very old creature. A creature which is still being summoned to come back home.