Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Rainwater Oceans: Vancouver 1964

Only have time for a quick post, but I was thinking of how, as a kid, I loved to play in puddles. And, as a kid, we lived in Vancouver, Washington where there was more rain than a kid knew what to do with, so we often had great puddles in our street on Enid Avenue.
Right after a rain--or even during it--I'd go outside. Our street always had vast puddles in it, usually three or four. I don't know why--was the drainage bad? Was the rain too much? But I liked it. Sure, I'd jump in them, get all wet and squishy, but my favorite activity was simply to float sticks. In my mind, the rain puddles were seas or oceans, exotic bodies of water with depths and currents and creatures. And my sticks were ocean liners or battleships or sailboats--vessels on long journeys across treacherous waters, often lost at sea or encountering rogue waves (I threw rocks or dirt clods into the puddles). Ah.
Sometimes I forget about the power of imagination. When I think back about childhood entertainment, I rarely think of specific toys or TV shows or movies. Almost all of my attachments were to games of the imagination: floating sticks in puddles, pretending to be at war or traveling through time, play-acting through self-invented paper or cardboard worlds, running with magical sticks through woods. I spent time outdoors, some of it in nature, some of it in--essentially--suburb.
But, back to puddles. I always loved puddles--dirty or clean, in the street or in mud--and could rarely resist them. I was a messy kid. I got dirty and scraped and bruised a lot. But not hurt. I was not a clumsy kid.
I recall I'd seen this cartoon movie called Alex Kazzam or something--about a monkey king (in fact, it was based on the Monkey story famous in Asia about the Buddhist teachings being brought to India or China)--and in the movie, the monkey falls into the water where--under the slim surface--a new world exists. And I recall in Vancouver how--being inspired by this movie--I'd slip my hand into cool puddles, trying to see if they were hollow, if the water only existed like a skin on the top and a new world actually existed below it.
Anyway, my imagination was always alive and well. Maybe it still is.

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