I was pondering some time ago, the loss of innocence. No, no, not that innocence—I mean check out a picture of me at twenty or so – I was far from innocent long before I was able to lose it.
I am referring to “wonder.” Perhaps that’s not the correct word, so let me explain. I recall watching the Walt Disney channel on Sunday nights at seven; the cartoons were best; I got lost in them, I mean totally immersed, to the point of being a real part of the adventure unfolding. I was similarly able to let the real world slip away when I turned the cover of a new Superman comic.
Then I turned thirty. Okay, maybe a bit younger, and it all slipped away. I did not intend it to. It happened without any real awareness, certainly not a conscious effort on my part. I found myself down the road somewhere, a place where cartoons and comics were for children. I remember trying to climb back into one of my favorite Saturday morning cartoons; and of course you know the outcome, it’s like trying to believe in Santa Claus again.
If childhood should teach us anything—yes, I’ve noted with some distain that we tend to view childhood as a time to learn and grow up and turn into good adults; we tend to give no measure to what childhood might teach us, the adult—if it should teach us anything, I repeat; it would be that such ventures into fantasy are spiritual in nature, precious, and euphoric to a healthy well-being.
Perchance we make a mistake when we label such episodes escaping from reality. Story telling is very much a part of human kind, and might even be hard-wired to some degree. The Myths, the lore, the gods so invoked by our ancestors point to rich imagination and a grand connection with a spiritual existence. Some folks lament the loss of the hardcover book to the digital. I for one offer no such affirmation. It was never the physical book; it has always been the story; and now with digital we can have a world of discovery, learning, and adventure waiting in an inside pocket to be pulled out any time when the part that calls itself the Real World needs to have its light dimmed for a short time.