Lately I've been reflecting on the uniqueness of the sibling relationship, and more specifically, why my brothers are so important to me. I mean, of course they are, but why do I love them so much, in an unconditional and deep way? I'd never really thought too much about it, taking it for granted, but as time goes on I realize that more than just always being there, my brothers are a part of me.
A couple of weeks ago, I came upon a book, The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot. Not having time to read it, I instead perused the introduction and learned that Eliot wrote a sonnet sequence, Brother and Sister, describing her younger days with her brother. She says that their shared times together, in the place they called home,
Were but my growing self, are part of me
My present Past, my root of piety*.
*Here, I understand piety as a sense of how to act in the world.
In another work**, she writes that human life "should be well rooted in some spot of a native land, ...a spot where the definiteness of early memories may be inwrought with affection...not by sentimental effort and reflection, but as a sweet habit of the blood."
**Daniel Deronda, ch 3
These ideas clarified what I've been feeling. Eliot's words from Brother and Sister could almost be mine (just change little to older) :
But were another childhood-world my share,
I would be born a little sister there.
Special thanks to Tom Lynn for leaving The Mill on the Floss lying around. May we both read it someday soon!