Monday, April 18, 2011

3-for-3 towards infinity


As a child, I saw faces on walls, ceilings, doorknobs and spoons. Then, one day, they were all gone. - Charles Simic

We replace the animate world of the child with test scores. In third grade, if we're not careful, we can usher in the end of innocence via the end of imagination.

The world alive for test scores. Hardly a fair trade. If we facilitate this deal, we deserve what we get.

I'm the child of the rainy Sunday afternoons of my youth. - Simic

Improvisation. What you do when there is nothing to do. That defines you.

When the game is rained out, you can't hit the beach and you are left to fill in the blank spaces around scheduled activities. What do you do?

My rainy Sundays were filled with Tinker Toys, Legos, Star Wars figures, baseball cards and comic books as a kid. Seldom do I come up with something better today as an adult.

On rainy days in our house, if it gets too quiet, I go check on the girls and find them queens and creators of entire worlds that somehow (just barely) fit inside their rooms. On those occasions I smile.

The imagination has moments when it knows what the word "infinity" means. - Simic

Those moments. How to cultivate. How to extend. How to get back to...

How do you embrace the infinite--arms and mind and soul stretched wide...

My recent moments make me sound like a skipping record: breathless on a mud-ridden, water-logged trail run, ground flowers in bloom, hurting, pushed past my limit but still moving forward, hanging on; watching Ava draw at the dining room table; cutting the grass while Anna loops the neighborhood on her bike; reading Wallace Stevens.

Our imaginations are their most fertile, most infinite when we are children. Though we may not know what "fertile" or "infinite" mean, still we know them by being a child, by coloring the grass purple, by never knowing or caring what time it is, by surveying our rooms, our yards, our line of sight, and seeing them as boundless.

2 comments:

41hebrewcat said...

I have one, maybe two childhood habits left.

The first; I "cut out" around the edges of objects with my eyes. Up the left table leg, out for the table surface, straight across, jut back in, down the other leg... I do this everywhere I go. I do this when I'm on the phone. When I'm at a bar. On a park bench.

The second? I still skip the cracks on the sidewalk, the Grandmaster who REFUSES to give up his crown! And sometimes as I pass railings or objects which correspond to others to my left or right, I tap my opposite fingers together to "count" them, drawing invisible parallel lines between the objects.

Michael Valliant said...

I cannot convey how awesome that is, kind sir. I have a number of vestiges from childhood still working, which seem to circle back in watching my own kids, which despite/because of having, I still feel like I should be sitting at the kids table at any function.