I finished reading Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden not long ago. I really enjoyed this paragraph in chapter 13 when Sayuri recalls a moment, early in her youth, when she stopped mourning for her losses and began looking ahead at her new life:
"I may have been no more than fourteen, but it seemed to me I'd lived two lives already. My new life was still beginning, though my old life had come to an end some time ago. Several years had passed since I'd learned the sad news about my family, and it was amazing to me how completely the landscape of my mind had changed. We all know that a winter scene, though it may be covered over one day, with even the trees dressed in shawls of snow, will be unrecognizable the following spring. Yet I had never imagined such a thing could occur within our very selves. When I first learned the news of my family, it was a though I'd been covered over by a blanket of snow. But in time the terrible coldness had melted away to reveal a landscape I'd never seen before or even imagined. I don't know if this will make sense to you, but my mind on the eve of my debut was like a garden in which the flowers have only begun to poke their faces up through the soil, so that it is still impossible to tell how things will look. I was brimming with excitement; and in this garden of my mind stood a statue, precisely in the center. It was an image of the geisha I wanted to become."