I watch my children and it’s fascinating to see how as they get older that they become more and more rooted in reality. It’s like vines that creep up from the ground and slowly, over time, root them to the Earth, taking away their ability to fly, to float off and live in a dreamworld that only they can really touch.
My 17yo is still on week one of driving and her fantastical vision is gas money and friends, spare time so she can goof off, and someone to head out on adventures with. It’s the explorer’s dream of what’s just over the next hill, be it a beautiful vista or a more interesting experience than the pragmatic day to day of her life. But flying into the air? Going back in time with her car? Being someone else, getting out of your own frame of reference to be more, bigger, amazing? No longer in her vocabulary.
And by contrast my 10yo still can have these amazing flights of fancy, and while I can see that there’s so much more of the world in her consciousness as those vines slowly begin to hold her onto the ground when she yearns to fly up into the clouds. She’ll fully incarnate, as us Waldorf types might say, but that’s just a fancy way of describing the same phenomenon: the journey of a child from fantasy and dream world to the hard, cold edges of what we call reality, the pragmatic grit and grime of life.
Last night my heart was filled as my little one reminded me that she’s still able to fly when she handed out a ticket, set up the sound system and performed a modern dance recital, in our front hallway.
In her mind it was Carnegie Hall and there were hundreds of people raptly watching her impromptu performance as she scurried “off stage” to quick change into another outfit or swirl around with her silks and dreamy, beatific smile.
Then every so often the facade would crack and she’d grin, self-conscious and suddenly very aware that she was bouncing around in the front hall of our house. A “yeah, I know, just playing” moment, a glimpse of the girl who’s coming, the older, more pragmatic, less dreamy young woman who is just over the next horizon, just behind the next calendar on the wall.
Then she’d drift back into the performance hall, her adoring audience admiring her grace, fluidity and beauty as she twirled and let the energy of her imagination drift through her limbs.
And it was beautiful.