There was a round wooden house in the hills, amongst the trees, and somehow it became part of me. I was only there twice, back before I should have had real memories. But that was enough, apparently. Enough for the smell of wood to be in my breath when I'm trying to calm myself. Enough for leafshadow and incence to lie beneath my skin.
There was an island of broken stone, and somehow I've walked its paths everywhere I go.
Some days I need to remind myself that I'm a grown up woman - almost fifty! That's when I put on quiet music and think back through rock rubble beneath bare feet ... pohutukawa singing ... rugs thickened with forest shadow ... the hills looking back at me ... and I place myself in all the places that are myself, until I'm here again.
On twitter recently the wonderful Robert McFarlane inspired a conversation about the small, private places we go on pilgrimage. Some people responded that there were places where they felt they'd left a part of themselves. For me, it is the other way - that some places have left themselves in me, perhaps called to do so by something they felt in me, some mystery or sympathy. And so I am pine, hill, wooden floors, narrow feral paths - whether I ever chose to be or not.