Once we go through a door we either take a peek at a new world and keep moving, or we retreat and rearrange, at best, into that which is our old habit. Dorothy said us much, “There’s no place like home!” and she retreated from an intensified-existence back to the ordinariness of the farm, albeit with more appreciation. Yes, she had contributed with her life to the people she met en route, but then left them to their own devices. Her Toto was back on his leash! So too did Alice. She slipped away from her restraining Governess and followed the immediacy of the free rabbit, only eventually to return to the past. Where are Alice and Dorothy at 50; at 60; at 90? Was their insight sustaining enough to last them through the mundane, the domestic, the chores, the obligations, the expectations, and the traditions of their ‘oh so every day’ society? Can one make ordinary time special? A way of life?
Whenever in some unique place, like on a beach or an island or a ship or in the magic of London I've looked at the dissatisfactions of the people who work there and wondered if they perceive the privilege of being where they are at, appreciating what they've got, feeling the magic that I feel since I am usually there on vacation and thereby must needs too soon to return to my ‘normal’ same-oh-same-place. How come ‘they’ get to live there?
Why is it we soon do not appreciate what we have, take for granted the milk in the fridge, the taps that open to give water, the stove that heats, the light bulb that clicks on? Many a person driving a Jaguar or Benz looks grumpy, or worse, haughty. Not everybody. But many. And most people appear to delve into a focus and concentration on the minutiae of our existence; the weather, the clothes we wear, the food we eat, the things we must see. Not that I dismiss these necessities; it is just that I choose not to make them something to serve.
So, upon reflection, what is it that I am indeed ranting about?
“We are pregnant!” was announced today by M’Lady’s granddaughter. They are going to have their second child; Nancy’s fifth great-grandchild. Unto us a child is born. Unto us. And it shall be called... a human being. Unto it will come all the lessons of its ilk, kith, and kin, be they watered down as it may, and be they mixed with the chronology behind each of the parents. And this child shall speak with an accent and fill its head with the needs and wants of its society; how can it be other? As it is on earth, so do we make our heaven. What chance to stay in the magic possibilities of Alice for this child, even if it does break free from its parenthood, its societal expectations, it emotional inculcations? What chance for this child to see the Kingdom of Oz? Not as a birthright or as a natural state of being, but as something deeply to be experienced, treasured, and contributed toward. Or will it walk with heavy tread and use up the resources, impact others, claim rights and privileges, and seek to control its environs as a statement of its very existence? We seldom are actually harmonious with life; we struggle to make it more-better. It is the struggle that wearies me; I much prefer simply better to flow.
I think it was the existing two-year old that got to me today; the one who is soon to have a sister or brother. The constant self-centricity of the child absorbed all four adults’ energy. And so much control was needed to keep the poor child in check. The wailing and yelling and tantrumming got to me; I wanted peace. I did not want to reason with it. I certainly did not want to have to babysit or control or even spend too much time amusing it. Selfish of me, I know, but it is not my child. I did not choose it, make it, or even want it to visit me. And though it be sweet and adorable and full of potential, I am not the one with the patience for repetitive domineering. I would rather dance with an adult than play with a child. I would rather converse with a soul in rapport than throw the ball back and forth. I would rather flow in accord than wrestle with wants and needs and expectations.
Upon reflection, I would rather be a Thoreau than a Romantic fop. Give me ongoing new vistas to explore; not a perpetually revolving door! But how to say that much to our inner children while caught up in their fundamental infancy? Children want what they want, and they want it now. Give them the key; they still can’t open the door. Not yet. And once they are old enough to do so, do they step beyond their habitual paradigm, keep adventuring, or do they retrench into the diurnal quotidian?