In a flash, I was sure that this was what I had been looking for. In my attempt to reconstruct the memories of childhood, objectively, I had for instance written:
'The photo I took when I was 12, of that curious rock on the coast at Dunstanborough. I stuck it in my Nature Diary and also sent it in to the holiday photography exhibition. The early rock strata had been thrown up in a curious contorted curve by some volcanic eruption.'
To the objective mind this incident marked a growing conscious interest in science. But now I suddenly guessed that to another part of the mind it meant something else. Just as I had once before discovered that I had two quite different groups of ideas about God, (see "A Life of One's Own, J.P. Tarcher, inc), according to whether I thought deliberately, or simply let thought come of their own accord, so this rock had two different meanings. To part of my mind it was an interesting geological specimen, to the other it stood now for the idea of hidden inner fires, powerful and unaccountable, upheaving and rending the surface. The first meaning had left me bored and depressed at the futility of what I was writing, the second had given me such deep satisfaction that I knew it was one of those significant memories from childhood that my questing imagination had been groping after.
But though my feelings told me this was what I wanted to remember, they did not explain why such an idea should be important. Why should the idea of the inner fires of the earth have shattering importance, either to a twelve-year-old - or to me as I looked back on that twelve-year-old - since it was quite possible that I was reading my own present sense of its importance into my memory of that experience? Volcanic eruption was not likely to be an important part of my life then, or now. I thought that the only answer could be that it was important by analogy, that the idea of the inner fires of the earth was sufficiently like some other experience to be able to stand for, or symbolize, some experience that was too dimly felt or too complex and obscure to be expressed directly. I wondered, did this possibility throw some light on my early passionate interest in nature? I had a long way to go efore I could see the connection, but I felt sure the connection was there. My next clues actually emerged from a study of journeys." (pp.12-13, An Experiment in Leisure, by Joanna Field)