The imagination can be a very mischievous child. If it doesn’t want to go home, it wanders through the garden, hoping to get lost – if it doesn’t want to do its work, it stubbornly closes its eyes the better to dream. When it is time to speak, it chooses to be thoughtful…and when it is pulled to safety, it breaks free to drift into the shadows.
But it always comes back with something lovely; so all is forgiven, always.
Does this make me a poor parent to let this child of mine roam so? An irresponsible one? Or am I merely indulgent? After all, my imagination always does return: its logic is often fanciful – metaphors that have traveled a long, hard road. But when I am ready, I can embrace its lucid madness, its creative rationale. And sometimes the art lies in the journey itself.
I was out walking on a particularly shining afternoon, down an unfamiliar street: so it was already ripe with possibilities. I passed by a sepia tinted building, empty save for a beige sofa which combined prettily with the Victorian color scheme of the place. Threads dripped from its back, endangering the tracks of the faint brocade – an aged topiary fading in the strong sunlight.
Inside there were wooden floors and columns of dust were suspended in the air, trapped by the rays of light venturing into the dull interior. And it was then that I felt a tap on my shoulder – and I knew that it was my imagination, asking me to pause awhile, while it did some benign trespassing. So I was left there to wait, peering through the smudged windows.
I knew that my better half was wandering through the rooms that lurked in the shadows hidden from the sidewalk. They expanded like a kaleidoscope – a labyrinth of shapes and angles fit together like geometry that had taken leave of its senses. I sensed it running its fingers over the wooden walls, across the forests of color and varnish. It reveled in the grisaille palette of the interior, in the melting grandeur and dusty bowers of the lonely sofa.
When my imagination returned – tousled but exhilarated – it had these things to tell me and more. We discussed them all the way home.
Sometimes the imagination lies hidden, like an unfinished pearl – yet it is there, content to wait. It doesn’t atrophy because it has been ignored or unused. Everyone is accompanied by his or her own frolicking child. No one is truly barren.