When I left Merle was wearing a bungalow apron and rolling pie crust. She came to the door wiping her hands on the apron and kissed me on the mouth and began to cry and ran back into the house, leaving the doorway empty [...] I had a funny feeling as I saw the house disappear, as though I had written a poem and it was very good and I had lost it and would never remember it again. (p. 262)
Our life's journey of self-discovery is not a straight-line rise from one level of consciousness to another. Instead, it is a series of steep climbs and flat plateaus, then further climbs. Even though we all approach the journey from different directions, certain of the journey's characteristics are common to all of us.