Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead. -- Gene Fowler

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Brief Fit of Nostalgia

It's September, and though the month is trying very hard to dash by me unnoticed, it hasn't gotten away entirely yet. In the Northern Hemisphere, September is the month that fall begins, that season that marks ends and beginnings. Summer is ending. It, too, seems to have flown by faster than it ought to have done. The warm weather is slowly giving way to cooler temperatures, the air growing crisp, bringing with it the reminder that winter will soon be upon us. September and the onset of fall never fail to remind me of the start of school. I'm filled with the memories of nervous anticipation, of guarded eagerness to go back to class and re-encounter my schoolmates from the previous year, to meet new teachers and explore new subjects, to receive new school supplies and clothes. It was like embarking on a grand adventure.

Fall also marked the beginning of a new season of after-school cartoons on television. I remember with a wistful smile the feeling of rushing home to watch the new episode of whatever show I was fixated on at the time, focusing all my energy on those twenty-two minutes. During the commercial break I let my imagination embellish and grow what fodder it had been given. What was in the shows was never enough; I was adding to the adventures of the characters in my mind long after the program had ended. My brother and I ran outside to play before dinner, each of us taking on the role of one of our favourite characters and acting out grand adventures in mundane locations that became exotic locales within our imaginations. Our back porch became a faction's base, a prison, a secret hidey-hole for the villains. Our backyard was an expansive battlefield, or obvious open ground no soldier would want to stand alone in. The swingset was transportation: the action of swinging back and forth emulated driving in a jeep, or flying a combat jet, or piloting a spaceship. When we arrived, we'd leap from the vinyl seat and tear off into the new location in search of imaginary adventure. The treeline became a forest, where creatures prowled and good guys hunted bad guys. We went on safari through the field across the street and beyond, to places that were small and ordinary but vast and unique to us in our adventures.

There's a development now, where that field used to be. The trees of the treeline are far taller these days, those that still stand. One of the maples in whose branches action figures frequently hid in order to ambush one another succumbed to disease some years back and has been replaced by a small smoke tree. My brother and I are grown now, our lives complicated by those incomprehensible things adults must face, things that left us yawning when our parents and aunts and uncles talked about them all those years ago. Who wants to listen to adults drone on about mutual funds or car payments when there's adventure to be had? And off we would go, out into the yard, or the field, and live our own imaginary lives for a time.