Friday, September 7, 2012

Places Of Imagination

Eep! The week got away from me. This is horribly late. And I actually had a plan this time, too.

Places - what does this mean?

I was thinking about places that inspired creativity in me. Back when I was a kid, I used to create whole villages for my little trolls out of the brown spots in the grass. We had a few, as I lived in Southern Oregon, where it could be hot and dry in the summer. I also made some pretty awesome forts in the extremely tall grass and weeds on the lot next to the alley at my grandma's house. Don't know why, but the thought of doing battle with spiders didn't bother me then. Now? I wouldn't even think of going into a spider infested jungle like that! But I digress. My grandma also had this very kewl closet in her house. One could enter in one bedroom, push aside various garments (including fur coats), do a couple of twists and turns, and emerge in the other bedroom. Great fun there! And her basement was spooky, damp and bittersweet, having a bedroom holding a bed my dad and his brothers slept in, along with a dresser still cradling baby clothes from all those years gone by. And there were some big, really nasty spiders down there, too.

As I got older, my imaginative places were more in my mind. Although, we had an awesome yard that bordered on woods. We created all sorts of forts in those woods, and laid out trails that would take us in sheltered darkness about a half a mile. A nice reprieve when it was too hot to walk the mile from school. At least half of that could be in the woods (swinging a spider stick in front of me, of course) which led directly to our backyard. As I walked, I created in my mind. All sorts of stories, none of which led me directly home. We also had a pretty nifty treehouse at this house. A treehouse that could only be reached by several well-practiced maneuvers on branch and trunk. Maneuvers that would likely put me in the hospital if I even thought of attempting them now. But a brilliant place to sit and think and compose and spy on anyone down below.

I also remember one place at university. There was a fairly large expanse of lawn, and situated near one side of it were two arborvitae. I have no idea why they were there. There was no path, no sidewalk, no old foundation from years gone past. Just the two trees. And I quite often would walk between them, wondering if I would be whisked to a parallel universe or a past life. Yeah, I actually pondered on things like that. And, amazingly enough, I don't remember feeling squeamish about the possibility of there being a nasty web strung between the two trees either. (Get the idea that I don't like spiders? And that it happens to be "spider season" here?)

I used to like to hike, as well. There is a nice old logging road that leads to a waterfall. It's curvy and dark and cool. And sometimes shrouded in fog. What a perfect place for a carriage to come careening around a corner, horses foaming, driving leaning forward, whip in hand. I'd leap to the side of the path, feeling the heat of horse flesh, hearing the straining of the carriage as it thundered past. And, maybe, just maybe, catching a glimpse of a dark-haired young man, pale and anxious and...well, you get the idea.

Places of imagination, where creativity speaks to you. Wondrous places. Where are yours?


  1. Places can certainly be characters of their own. I remember my grandparent's home in the country with its pot belly stove and huge round claw foot dining table where the men at first, the women ate, and the kids got what was left. My mom would sneak my sister and me into the kitchen and feed us before the others. She was sweet. I also remember the outhouse. :)

  2. My gramma had the kewlest kitchen ever. It was huge - the biggest room in the house. It had a wood stove, under which many a cat had kittens. It was bright red and bright yellow, with an old linoleum floor and one of those formica tables that are all the rage now with twenty-somethings in decorating. Big windows with curtains edges in red and yellow rick-rack. A mirror above the sink, which was deep and cast iron. There was a tiny little, quaint and cute, bathroom just outside the kitchen door. Seems I remember turquoise and pink in there. Her living was stuffed with memorabilia. Fascinating memorabilia. Like the footstool, covered with a tanned hide and sporting real deer legs as the legs to the stool. Now, it sounds gross, but as a kid, it was incredible. LOL

  3. What an absolutely awesome blog piece! Place. We all have them! As an adult, mine is up in Door County. I'm a real forest kind of person and when I walk along one of the roads up there and hear the wind in the trees, I understand how Tolkien could come to the idea that trees spoke with each other. I also spent a lot of my childhood in a corner behind a chair next to a book case. I stashed all my favorite paper airplanes and some of my stories back there. Thank you for sharing this. It was wonderful to remember.