Yesterday I got to pick up my granddaughter, Kaylee, at 7:30 and have her wonderful company for the day. On the way to my house the subject of imagination came up and she frowned her forehead, as only I could have done as a child, and said she had lost hers. Maybe I was ranting about screens and TV's and Ipods. She kept asking me which device was on, for pretend, my Ipod (don't have) or my phone (don't have one that does anything interesting).
So that became our theme for the day. I explained that when she pictures something in her mind, that was her imagination. She claimed she couldn't picture a thing. Which led me to Little Red Riding Hood and her basket of health food goodies. When she met the Big Bad Wolf it threatened to scramble her, according to Kaylee and it got to grandma's house and did scramble her up.
I wasn't sure if this was what she had in mind for my house, but she decided she wanted to decorate it.
She made me a new refrigerator art piece. Her work always has a structural sculptural aspect that involves string and tape. Then we made a wonderful paper chain with alternating white stock and
manilla paper. I loved its simplicity and elegance. We hung it from an old plant hook over my desk, a patch that covered where the Ashley Wood stove once sat, decades ago. She added a red string, a manilla rectangle with her name in pink, and a sticker of a bunch of grapes dangling on a smaller string. The piece moves in the air right by my computer like a little imagination ghost.
Later that day, after some Sesame Street screen time because I am human and always have important computer screen things to do myself, we had a big discussion about mortality and about every day it is important to do your best. As I was getting dressed for town I heard her singing. She sings little songs constantly. For this one was she was flipping the tiny pages of Peter Rabbit, a book with a Pittsburgh address label it is so old. I got my tape recorder and found the back of a tape that was empty and asked her to sing again. With no hesitation she opened Peter Rabbit and sang a song to go with Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail. The song was about decisions and finding your path and your home. It ended as the book ended. She almost turned inside out with joy
when we played it back, and that was the highlight of my scrambled day.
Her mom said that she has been worried about her imagination, an odd coincidence because it has been the topic of our Arts Education Committee. In fact there is a panel on imagination on June 16 at 5-7:00 at Warehouse21, Santa Fe's award winning teen center. I know some has been scrambled by the screen, but I also know, in myself and in Kaylee, that it is a strong force and that a woodsman may come and chop it out of the wolf of technology. And there they are, grandmother and child, whole and imagining.