I have a confession to make. My last post makes me really sad. It just seems like it must have been written by someone wholly resigned to reality—that is to say, it must have been written by a grown-up. If this is the case, I fear I’ve failed bitterly. I never want to grow up so much that there is not a child’s voice within me somewhere, because that innocence and wonder is also hope. Hope is nothing if not the voice of a child.
But to steal words from one of my favorite thinkers,
I know I’m not a hopeless case.
And, this, my dear readers, is how I know:
Not too long ago, I was watering some plants—a tomato plant on the back porch first, and then some basil in the kitchen windowsill—when I had a brilliant thought. In fact, I daresay it may have been one of the most brilliant thoughts I’ve had in a good long while.
What if tomatoes grew on basil plants?
I was immediately lost in the delicious implications of such a reality. Of course I would move to Italy and buy a big piece of land for growing my precious tomasil plants. But tomatoes and basil are nothing without mozzarella, so naturally I’d raise dairy cows too.
And that’s how I know there’s still a child in my soul somewhere. It’s a cold, hard fact that real grown-ups don’t ponder career opportunities offered by cultivating imaginary plants.
Come to think of it, there are lots of ways I know I’m not hopelessly grown-up yet (and may I never be!). For one, I’m completely mesmerized by red onions.
Yes, red onions.
Have you ever looked at one up close?! They’re amazing! The purple color isn’t sort of painted all over the onion. It’s made up of countless little dots of pigment, just like ink on a magazine page. I swear the guy who invented the dot matrix printer had to have been inspired by a red onion.
And you know what else blows my mind? Thunder.
“The sudden increase in pressure and temperature from lightning produces rapid expansion of the air surrounding and within a bolt of lightning. In turn, this expansion of air creates a sonic shock wave which produces the sound of thunder, often referred to as a clap, crack, or peal of thunder.”
I got that from Wikipedia, the foremost authority on everything. And when a kid in elementary school asks their science teacher (or when I ask my meteorologist friend, Brad) what causes thunder, that’s probably the answer they’ll get. Or if they ask their parents, they’ll probably just be told, “It’s when the clouds bump into each other.”
Now, if you ask me, both of those answers are completely preposterous. The first explanation just lost me entirely. I mean, seriously, sonic shock wave? Now I think you’re just making stuff up. And as for the second explanation, Mom and Dad, how dumb do you think I am? They aren’t watermelons, for Pete’s sake. They’re clouds. And you want me to believe they make that kind of noise when they bump into each other?? No, I think I’m going to have to side with my Granny on this one. “There goes the ‘tater wagon,” she’d always say after a roll of thunder. And it seems a much more satisfying explanation than sonic shock waves. No matter how old I get, when I hear thunder, I think it sounds just like someone’s dumping a wagonload of potatoes.
The bottom line is that my imagination is just far too unbridled for me to be a true grown-up. And that’s not to say there aren’t any “grown-ups” running around with unbridled imaginations, because all the best ones are. There just aren’t many. But I certainly plan to be one.