That's exactly fitting for some things I've been thinking about re my own childhood of late.
I've sometimes thought that our early lives resemble the way that a tree grows as a sapling, taking on environmental influences to produce the shape it will be when mature.
In Cornwall, the prevailing winds are westerlies from the Atlantic, meaning that most trees show an inclination to point to the east. Wind shear keeps some stunted, which is what happened to one of my favourite trees. It's a hawthorn growing on Stowe's Hill on Bodmin Moor, a granite tor famous for its Cheesewring
stone edifice. I took a postcard showing this hardy little tree to Atlanta, where I lived for three years, as a memory of home, and also to serve as a reminder to stay determined.
It rested on the music rack of an upright piano, next to my computer; it was the last thing I packed when I returned to Cornwall. I made a pilgrimage to the hawthorn, finding that it looked exactly the same. It wasn't any taller than when the photograph for the postcard was taken 25 years before. I estimated it was about 200 years old, by using old paintings, sketches and photographs of the hill.
My point is, that our early influences have a huge influence on who we become in life. They give us good traits, as well as a load of crap that can take years to get rid of to encourage new growth. I'm not a lot different to the boy I was at 7-years-old. I still like the same stuff—books, nature, music, writing and women. To my surprise, after several close scrapes with death and some nasty experiences, I have endured. Not to waste my slow growth, I'm now turning some the things I've learned into parts of my novels.
As Czesław Miłosz
said: “Not that I want to be a god or a hero. Just to change into a tree, grow for ages, not hurt anyone.”