But this morning, though I was in a great mood, feeling rested despite the 4:45 wake-up, it hit me that I missed my typical weekend-ender. Sundays, for us, are generally very lazy and very precious. I missed that. And though I'm sure Chris missed it much more, being at work till 8pm, I felt obligated to rent a movie to watch immediately upon arriving home this afternoon. I felt I needed to catch up a little on lazing about and being entertained by a screen and a story.
I watched Phoebe in Wonderland. If you like imagination and the sometimes off workings of the mind, you might enjoy this film. Although the story isn't all fantasy and light-hearted imagination, that's what I'm thinking about after watching it. Imagination, something I used to have, and blame adulthood for losing.
When do we start to let go of the fantastical for the sake of the mature? When does it become okay to say goodbye to the sparkle that makes cardboard boxes fun? Why is it that we must give up healthy imaginations in order to function as adults? I realize that there are some adults who are able to hang onto theirs, and I envy them, because I swore I'd never lose mine. I actually swore to myself, as a child, never to allow myself to grow out of my wonderful imagination and the magic held therein. I would never grow up all the way. The latter part of that promise, I feel I've managed to hold onto, and I'll be forever proud of that. But I no longer possess the ability to lose myself in a fantasy, to disappear into a fanciful dreamworld of my own making. I write stories, sure, but the things I write rarely reflect the whimsy of the world in which I often lived as a child. The magic is tarnished.
When I was a child, I honestly believed all animals could tell that I was a friend; we communicated without words. If I were to get lost in the forest, I would surely be rescued by some wild breed of creature, be it wolf, coyote, or bobcat. It didn't matter that there are no wolves running free in the woodsy marshes of Florida. It was possible to me.
There was also a short span of time when I believed I may be a new breed of vampire, as a couple of my front teeth were especially pointy. I remember hiding out in the bathroom of the house of one of my mom's church friends. There was a beach barbecue going on outside, but I was sure if I stared into the darkened mirror and said the words out loud, someone would appear and tell me the truth of who I was.
When I was even younger than that, I truly believed that I was an angel, accidentally sent to Earth. Maybe that could explain why I felt so out of place, and why I seemed to hurt so much deeper than other people. Maybe I was built that way to help others.
That's just the outer fringes of where my mind took me, and I'd like to think I'm not a total freak, in that aspect. I had a vivid and active imagination, following the secret trails of fireflies on summer nights at my grandparents' house, and arranging my nook in the oak tree in our front yard for an extended stay. I used to close my eyes at night, excited to get lost in my own head as I drifted to sleep. I miss that.
Some people say that children are more susceptible to the things we can't understand as rationally thinking adults. People who believe in ghosts say young children can see them; people who believe in angels say the same. When my oldest niece, Megan, was a baby, we watched her and wondered what had her so entertained, as her eyes seemed to be tracking a very amusing scene across the ceiling. Her belly laugh was amazing and we couldn't see why. So many fairy tales preach that you have to believe to experience the magic; maybe there's something to that. Surely, everyone knows the placebo effect, that if a patient believes they're being treated, their condition very often improves. And when I took a leisure course in college called ESP Awareness, our instructor was very clear about our being open to the possibility of there being parts of our brains that could allow us to tap into things thought supernatural. On the contrary, her belief was that psychic ability is quite natural, we just have to know how to tap into it. And we have to believe we can.
So if we believe there is magic in the world, is it possible to experience it in adulthood? Can we, as job-working, bill-paying grown-ups take a step back toward our more innocent days and look a little closer for the cracks in reality? Meaning, is it possible to see a little magic shine through all that is obligatory and reasonable? I really hope so, because life without imagination, life without magic just seems a little sad.
It kind of makes me look forward to seeing the world through fresh eyes, with a renewed sense of awe. In good time.