Arriving where we started

Strange coincidences. Tom and I got lost in Cambridgeshire this morning looking for a place he needed to visit for a school project and came unexpectedly on this signpost.

And suddenly I remembered the four lines of Eliot’s ‘Little Gidding’ (from Four Quartets) which I quoted in my book

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

Later, when we got home, I looked up the text. The poem continues:

Through the unknown, remembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half heard, in the stillness
Between the two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always–
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of things shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.

Strange how an unusual placename can fix something in one’s memory.