i miss being little and being in ohio, when my mom was an avon saleswoman. instead of the OFF mosquito spray, we’d get greased up with avon’s skin-so-soft. there were nights when my parents would set a tent up in the backyard; myself, my sister and our friends would camp out for the night. we’d make s’mores on the stove and eat assorted kinds of canned meat, cheese and crackers because we were roughing it.
one time, lizzy and i made a buried treasure map. i had two big pine trees at the bottom of yard and a dogwood tree right in front. i’m fairly certain the treasure was in between the trees. there was also a big buckeye tree with a tire swing in the middle of my yard, that was our ship. i took a match to the edge of the paper to make it look older and more worn. i probably wasn’t allowed to play with fire, but i didn’t care…we were fighting pirates, rules didn’t apply.
last autumn, i took my 7-year-old nephews hiking at atwood. i kind of got us lost. but there were wood pirates, and wood fairies, so it was an adventure. and there was coco, the dog, our fearless leader. we were about 20 minutes into the hike before i thought about the wood pirates and how they were spying on us from way up in the trees. sometimes we had to stop and freeze so they didn’t see us, other times we had to bolt into the shadows.
my imagination has gone rusty. even now, i get so caught up in working to pay bills and save for africa that i end up forgetting what it is to play. i’ve forgotten that my apartment is more than a studio with slightly dog-smelling furniture. it’s a sanctuary. it’s my pirate ship. my job, i was born to do this. when i was seven or eight, i’d have my mom buy me things at officemax and give me the old telephone so i could play office. sometimes, i’d score big and she’d give me her old checks. and one time, she cut this paper box and designed it in such a way that it resembled a cash register. i even got to put real accounting tape in it.
when did these things stop being fun? when did i start taking life so seriously? where is it ever said that i have to leave my imagination in my preteen years?
i’m taking fun back from whatever took it from me. and i’m leaving seriousness in imagination’s place. kind of like when indiana jones replaces that statue with a bag of sand or whatever.
i need adventure. everyday.
i get to go home for memorial day.