Do you remember having had, as a child, sudden realizations about who you were and what life was about?
I do. I have many childhood memories: of picking strawberries, catching grasshoppers and roly-polies, making mud pies . . . and having kid epiphanies.
Kid epiphanies can be empowering, frightening, or merely evocative of curiosity . . . but they are surely always accompanied by strong emotions.
One of the best reasons to read Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury is that you will encounter many, many brilliant depictions of kid (and also adult!) epiphanies. Some serious existential life talk happens in this book . . . and yet, you don’t need to be a philosophy major to understand it. You just need to stretch your memory back to childhood.
Here’s one kid epiphany that occurs near the beginning of the novel. Actually, it’s what one might call a pre-epiphany, the realization that a realization is about to occur:
“Dad laughed and lunch was over and they moved again into the shadows to find fox grapes and the tiny wild strawberries, bent down, all three of them, hands coming and going, the pails getting heavy, and Douglas holding his breath, thinking, Yes, yes, it’s near again! Breathing on my neck, almost! Don’t look! Work. Just pick, fill up the pail. If you look you’ll scare it off. Don’t lose it this time! But how, do you bring it around here where you can see it, stare it right in the eye? How? How?”
I won’t give away what the realization is, but I will say that I experienced something similar as a kid.
What kid epiphanies do you remember having?