Monday, June 19, 2017

I Am Elsewhere

I never thought of myself as a daydreamer. Maybe because the word is so often associated with movie or book images of characters imagining that they're sword fighting in Medieval England or out on safari in the nineteenth century and then getting abruptly interrupted by someone calling out their name in reality. That's never what I did.

It was always more that my mind had the capability of filling in all of the empty spaces in a day. During a long car ride, I might stare out the window to memorize the landscape and then start picturing the fellowship from The Lord of the Rings trekking across the hills. If the trip was to Flagstaff, I would instead picture the characters of Little House on the Prairie building log cabins in the woods. I would use whatever was physically in front of me to connect with these fictional people (yes, Laura and her family were real, but in this context they're fictional characters).

In between moments are wonderful times to think. While sweeping or washing dishes or taking out the trash or preparing food. Sometimes the mind is so busy with the work of the day that it needs these moments to rest and think of nothing--and sometimes it needs these moments to run around and play its own game. When you don't need to be thinking about a particular something, where does your mind go?

I remember I used to sometimes sit in my closet (yes, I had a stool in my closet where I would often go to read, and no, it wasn't a walk-in closet) and put on my headphones (the kind that came with the CD player--iPods were just barely coming out or about to come out at this time) and listen to the Space Mountain soundtrack and close my eyes and imagine every turn and every drop of the ride. In this way, I would imagine I was right there at Disneyland again. I don't really need to do this anymore: I'm more likely now to listen to "It's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow" if I'm nostalgic for Disneyland (even though it's a vintage song that doesn't even play in today's park) and I now know Space Mountain well enough that I can picture it and its music for a moment without the need for closed eyes and turning on the music. It's already in my head.

I do that often, I suppose.

Not pretend that I'm riding Space Mountain, that is--what I meant is that I often play back moments, fictional or real, in my head. No moment is ever dead if it still exists in memory. Is that what daydreaming means? That you can vividly picture Frodo and Sam's meeting with Faramir in Ithilien or a ride on Thunder Mountain or looking out at the Painted Desert, whichever image is calling to you?

I am here. But my mind also knows when there is space for it to be elsewhere at the same time.

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