Out of this space in which we move — in which we are — we build a landscape, with familiar hills, mountains, rivers, good and bad things, and then we inhabit that, build a house in it, perhaps marry and have children in it, and become part of the landscape we have created.
The space remains, immaculate and uncolonised — as if we were never there, which perhaps we weren’t.
The stories we tell about the landscape that surrounds us, anchor us in a past and future, success and failure, and the gains and losses that we have endured.
We leave our real home for this, though we were never pushed away or treated badly. It is as if we wished to serve some other god, and cope with its demands and observances, which helps us feel that we are important and that we belong.
The new home talks of happiness and an escape from suffering, and we want so much to believe the stories we are told — the good ones, that is.
Meanwhile, the old home we think we left behind, waits for us, and if one day we find our way back, it will tell us: ‘This was always your home, and never ceased to be, and in that back room, there is the bluebird* of happiness you went searching for, all those years ago.’
*Bluebird was a play by the great Belgian dramatist, Maurice Maeterlinck.
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Always moved by the bluebird of happiness as a child
Now in the final years I know it was the truth of it that moved me
How grateful I am