We built a fort. Who? What? When? Where? Why?
Let’s take a walk down memory lane. Can you remember a time when you imagined something and were able to picture that something in your mind? Then, with that picture in your thoughts, you allowed your body to create it. Wait! Let’s start from the beginning….
Once upon time I built a fort.
I didn’t have a permit, a license, or a care in the world…all I had was a beach full of driftwood and a group of friends who, like me, saw the fort in their mind’s eye. We were kids and what we were creating was ‘childish’. Thinking back, I loved it when we took the initiative to make things like that happen. I wish that I could still be ‘childish’ enough to do stuff like that on a regular basis.
People are products of their environment and all too often our environment is not conducive to creativity and divergent thinking.
“Hey, look at that log! Let’s build a fort!” I would exclaim. And just that fast we would do it.When I was a kid it was that simple. That was how it always began. A flickering of an idea or a picture in our minds. Something created by kids who had a desire to have a house of their own and be free of all the stresses in their young lives.
As kids our daily summer routine consisted of waking up; doing nothing; cleaning ourselves (barely); playing; playing some more; and eating. That’s it–eat, play, eat, whine a little, eat, play, sleep (barely)…did I miss anything?
Kids want independence and a fort is a wonderful way to portray that idea.
So we built a fort. We built a fort to outdo all other forts. We built a fort with the fortitude to foresee all fortresses across the fields into the foreseeable future. Whew! Alliteration aside, if we ran into a problem while building our fort, we fixed it. If we ran into a situation that was unsolvable, we solved it. If we disagreed, we stopped building until we could agree. If we didn’t like what we were creating, we recreated it. If we saw a part of the fort that wasn’t very cool and knew how to make it cooler, we did. We were willing to be wrong. We were willing to not know what to do. We were willing to make changes. We were willing to be vulnerable. We were willing. –and that was the key to our success….
WE WERE WILLING.
There were no expectations of us that we were aware of. Unless, it was the expectation to make a moment unique and our own. It was not about being good, better, great, more viral, less bacterial or any other form or forms that would be appropriate for a particular time and place. It was always about the present time and place. It was always about the ‘now’. The Fort was important because it was created by us. It represented the things that we were able to imagine. It represented us giving life to our dreams.
After we completed the fort we used it and enjoyed it so thoroughly that it is hard to imagine ever having a better time in my life. We played school in it. We played house. We picked fresh blackberries from the bushes that grew along the base of the cliff and onto the driftwood. We would find small, flat pieces of driftwood and turn them into plates. We would smash the blackberries on the plates and then serve them to each other as dinner. Or lunch. Or breakfast. It was glorious–and delicious.
The beauty of our fort is the conclusion. The fort would wash away. Sure, it might survive a tide, maybe even two or three, but eventually the fort would wash away with the rolling waves and the progress of life.
We didn’t cry. We didn’t complain. Do you know what we did?
We built a another fort.