Thursday, July 29, 2010

Recapturing Imagination

I remember it like it was yesterday. The gentle rush of a chilled breeze gracing my cheeks. The rhythmic squeaking of a glider loveseat as its mechanism followed the course of its track. The unforgettable stickiness of turquoise vinyl under my thighs. The murmur of hummingbirds thick in the air. Though I have not been on that white-painted, wooden porch in nearly fifteen years, if I close my eyes I can go there again. On all sides of me are family: great-grandma next to me, grandma nearby with fierce kindness, great-aunt taking in precious time with family, my brother and cousins planning boyish mischief (in which I was, of course, eager to join), mom and dad grateful for a respite from the rush of daily life, and grandpa perched on the steps gazing toward the garage several paces away. Grandpa wasn't distant, or trying to imagine himself elsewhere. No. The Jeep in that garage would take us somewhere for fishing, bring us into Boulder for ice cream, or serve as our vessel of exploration as we observed how our favorite summer location had changed since we last visited.

When many people think of their favorite vacations, they may think of a cruise ship or a tropical beach. They imagine the worries of their work or stressful lives melting away for a week, or two if they are lucky, as they escape from reality. For me, vacation was imagination. Vacation was time with my family, and an opportunity for a change in rhythm of life. The mountain air beckoned me to slow down my worries, to soak in the rays of the sun looming closely overhead, and to listen to the wisdom of Jim Creek as it rippled nearby. Just when I thought I had experienced or seen everything possible, something brand new would tickle my senses. From the discovery of a treehouse in the middle of the forest, to the herd of loose cattle grazing in our yard, nothing was ordinary.

I wonder what would happen if I closed my eyes right here where I sit to write this entry. Might I be transported to another place to soak in the sights, smells and sounds of my imagination personified? Perhaps I would be able to capture even a snippet of that imagination again, and ordinary life might become a little more extraordinary.

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