Czeslaw Milosz notes that places now left behind are nevertheless imprinted on a child’s psyche:
Knowledge does not have to be conscious. It is incredible how much of the aura of a country can penetrate a child. Stronger than thought is an image—of dry leaves on a path, of twilight, of a heavy sky. In the park, revolutionary patrols whistled back and forth to each other. The Volga was the color of black lead. I carried away forever the impression of concealed terror, of inexpressible dialogues confided in a whisper or a wink of the eye. The mansion waited resignedly for the promised murder of all its inhabitants, a murder that, presumably, would not have spared the fugitives. And among those refugees, who were there by chance, fear was rampant. I also carried away the image of Orthodox church cupolas seen against a bluish-red sky with flocks of circling jackdaws, the paving of Rjev’s streets, on which a passing cart would leave a fine trail of seeds from a torn sack, and the shrieks of fur-capped children as they launched their kites.
Originally posted Wednesday, March 20th, 2013