Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Miracle on 34th Street

If you are in need of a little holiday cheer all you need do is revisit, "Miracle on 34th Street," the classic movie with Maureen O'Hara and Natalie Wood. In my favorite scene, Kris Kringle engages the cynical young Susan on the subject of the imagination.

After dinner Susan scornfully tells him how she has rejected a game of "Zoo Keeper" with the other children in her apartment building. "Do you know what the imagination is?" he asks.

"Oh, sure," she says in a worldly-wise tone. "That's when you see things but they're not really there."

"Well that can be caused by other things, too," says Kris wistfully. "No, to me, the imagination is a place all by itself. A separate country. Now you've heard of the French nation? And the British nation? Well, this is the imagi-nation."

Susan eyes him with cautious intrigue.

"It's a wonderful place," he insists. "How would you like to be able to make snowballs in the summertime. Or drive a great big bus right down 5th avenue? How would you like to have a ship all to yourself that makes daily trips to China? and Australia?"

Now Susan's eyes are simply glowing and she is leaning in nearer and nearer.

"How would you like to be the Statue of Liberty in the morning and in the afternoon fly south with a flock of geese?"

Susan nods vigorously and it seems all she can do to keep from jumping up out of her skin.

"It's very simple," he says matter-of-factly. "But of course it takes practice."

I heartily concur with his conclusions as - in my own experience - having imagination is a bit like having faith. It takes discipline; and when it is focused in the right direction, it always, always allows you to travel distances that would be impossible under "ordinary" circumstances.


Shilo Taylor said...

Darla yesterday created a 'cave' behind the couch, peered out and asked, "I can only pretend! How can I imagine so I really am an animal? Do I shut my eyes and then it happens?" Apparently she thought imagine was a step above pretend- where it actually took shape like a dream. I'm going to explain about "practice" right now!

--------- said...

i like this reminder H.

in your entry, imagination is like the poetic, perhaps a rediscovery of the world, or a better way to touch it

but as i'm prone to wondering, i wonder when imagination is productive, real, and like a proper dutch stoic, when it's escapist, or misleading

the most love