Thursday 17 November 2011

Sanctuary for Imaginative Play

As I hang curtains suspended from door way to door way to block my writing space off from the rest of the room I am struck by how well into my adulthood I am still creating forts for myself.  My after school children will quite often decide to have their lunch or snack under the kitchen table, creating a make believe circus or jungle or something equally imaginative while they eat. So, I know this urge to make a temporary make-believe cover is inherent, yet the shelter is not intended to keep out rain, or wind – my curtains are quite sheer, so the effect isn’t even to keep out prying eyes.  But the drapes do provide a sense of refuge and privacy, a sanctuary for imaginative play.

How often do we ignore the need for such a space?  Classrooms are not generally equipped to foster forts.  Once outside though children naturally congregate in small groups inside the ring of rocks, under the trees overhang, beside the giant tree trunk, and even under the manmade play structure.  As human beings we crave that sense of sanctuary – our space to be imaginative.
And when we grow older we are loathe to leave our houses – our asylum from the world, where we have spent a lifetime creating a refuge from reality.  It is no wonder seniors carted off to hospitals where nurses and doctors come in and out at all hours, where bathrooms are shared, where people cannot maintain a shield to protect them, it is no wonder they die in droves.  Where is the refuge for the old and ill and frail?  Because the need to take imaginative shelter is in each of us.

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