“There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again.” -Elizabeth Lawrence
My previous post was on the tragedy that is Childhood amnesia because of its dissolution of some of our greatest memories. However, our beloved parents and loved ones have softened this terrible blow by visually documenting our experiences from a very young age. That’s right-family albums and homemade videos. While they may be perpetually embarrassing in front of your friends and family, I know that you secretly love them.
I imagine that people enjoy seeing vastly younger and comically foolish versions of themselves tottering about a screen. They like to be reminded of the brash, chaotic beauty of childhood. They like knowing that they were once described as “adorable” as opposed to “handsome” or “gorgeous”. They like identifying their unmistakable features on the chubby face of a toddler.
Why am I saying all of this? Because I saw a childhood video of mine just a couple of days ago. While it was only ten seconds in length, there was enough visual information to suggest the time and place it was shot. The sky was a deep shade of magenta, suggesting that it was late evening. The garish lights and loud, happy music made me think that it was a carnival of some sort.
That and it was entirely obvious where I was. My mother and I were sitting on the back of a gleaming white carousel horse. As always, the plastic equestrian looked as majestic as ever. Its head was reared back as if it was mid-whinny and its athletic stance made it look as if it was heatedly galloping into battle. Except for the fact that there was a giant metal pole sticking out from its back, it was the perfect image of natural animal athleticism.
And in the midst of it all, there I was, a tiny, wide-eyed four-year-old. I had both of my chunky thighs on each side of the beast and held the horse’s mock reigns with comical anticipation.
The ride hadn’t started yet, and so there I was, trembling from my unfathomable excitement. I quickly rocked back and forth, striving to put my momentum into driving the horse forward. I slapped its smooth plastic exterior, mouthing the words, “Faster! Faster!”.
I probably couldn’t even hear myself speak because of the sheer volume of the carnie music blaring in the background. But it didn’t matter.
I was charging off into the evening sky with the most majestic and noble steed known to man. I was going to gallop away at the speed of the wind. I was going to have grand adventures that mortals can only dare to dream of.
Or that’s what I thought. But the significance of this video wasn’t how far removed I was from reality, but at my immense innocence and child-like wonder.
Even though it lasted but a few seconds, the video showed me the beautiful perspective of a toddler. For someone who is just getting acquainted with the world, everything is amazing, intriguing, and worthy of further scrutiny. It’s a bright, dynamic world with a constant influx of patterns and colors.
Looking back on it, I kind of wish I could go back to seeing the world with kaleidoscope vision.