Saturday, December 4, 2010

Building forts...

When I was a kid I was mucho adept at fort building. I was. Ask my brother. I was special. It was largely a combo of imagination, commitment and an unrivaled sense of outlandish adventure. Give me a few old pallets. a tin bucket and some rope and you wouldn't see me for hours. By the time you came looking for me I'd have built a Trump Tower of discarded detritus somewhere high off the ground or buried beneath some half rotted tree. I had skills...mad skills.

It doesn't really translate into adulthood, I suppose. Well, maybe it does, but the reason I mention it is that I believe very strongly in the notion of magical thinking, in turning old pieces of forgotten this and that into dreams. I still think I'm pretty good at fort building, it's just that the bent and broken things I'm using to build them now are people's hearts and hopes, and although I could still get lost in that effort for hours and hours, it's harder and harder to reach the kind of heights I hammered shoddy scraps into soft wood when I was a kid. These days the forts are a lot closer to the ground, and probably even less sturdy.

I was thinking tonight that everything I've ever been really good at in my life wasn't exactly the kind of thing that was easily converted into cold, hard social standing and respect. The kids that really dug my forts back in the day were the kind of kids who were looking to get that far off the ground in the first's the same kids today. The people I most connect with are the ones who are willing to connect, the ones with open hearts and minds. The kind of people who issue diplomas and sign pay cheques don't often appreciate the fort builders the way that the fort sitters do. I'm okay with that.

Zoey's going to make-believe a lot, and with any luck, she'll build as many forts as her head can imagine. I hope that she keeps building them her whole life. I hope that the only tool box that she ever really needs is the one on her shoulders and between her ears. I hope that she can play for hours and decades in the secret places she conjures up, those places where she is whatever she imagines herself to be. I'm still doing it, and sometimes I smile at what I can build with utter junk.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home