Thursday, April 1, 2010
When my daughter, Emily, was very young but coming of the age where thought was beginning to form questions in her mind, she asked me one day in spring if the Easter bunny was real. It gave me pause as to how to answer this inquisition. Did she really want the real, grown up answer, or did she really already know the answer and want affirmation of the fantasy? So I answered with an oblique reply, that if you no longer believed in the magic, then there would be no magic.
This answer seemed to have given her a way to think about this and so afterwards, for years, she pretended or acted that she still believed, and perhaps she really did. We obliged by continuing to provide the acts of magic keeping the traditions of the Easter bunny, Santa Claus and such, alive. We perpetuated the myth and were happy to do it.
There is a deeply soothing comfort in believing in, and living in, the myth, in knowing the patterns of these magical happenings and being able to count on their happenings like clock work. It is a sweet and delerious, blind, and overwhelming optimism of expecting this pattern of good and wonderful magic things to come. There is an giddy excitement in the expectation of great things, toys, candy, gifts, surprises, that is hypnotic and mesmerizing. Who didn't have the doubtful fear too, that maybe we had been just bad enough, often enough, that this year, it would indeed be a load of switches and ashes from Santa instead of our wishes.
Regretably there is a definite and fine line that demarks this point of bliss in our lives and the other side, the side of truth, of disbelief, the knowing, and seeing of the reality. This line, once crossed is like a door which once opened and passed thru can no longer be used to go back. Once you doubt the magic, the optimism of myth of life, you can not go back to that blissful spot. It is in this disappearance of that naievity, that I find so disheartening and I remember the realization of going thru this port, so sadly.
The day my brother David, asked me if I still believed in Santa Claus still burns in my brain...I remember where we stood in my parents' foyer and the look on his face when I answered a further questioning, yes to his question. It had never occured to me anything but the fact of Santa's exsitence until that moment, and once the doubt was put in motion it needed resolution. Then came the proof of this with him showing me the stash of toys in the front closet my mother had hidden for Santa to magically drop off Christmas Eve. I still feel the pit in my stomach from this revelation. I remember that Christmas too, pretending for my parents that I did believe so that I wouldn't ruin their gift to me, the perpetuation of the magic. It was bitter.
When the magic is gone, there is no magic.
So what is left when the hope is drained, when bad things happen, when life gets dark, when you lose something or someone dear, and you can't go back to that wonderful spot where you did believe in Santa and the Bunny. I don't know exactly.
There is a part of me that remains and clings to my childhood and doesn't want to leave. I still remember lying in my crib looking up at the fuzzy animals that hung over my head and circled with a soft tune when mom wound it up. I remember being aware that I was aware that I was experiencing a sublime feeling and that maybe I was supposed to use that memory when I needed it later , when times got crappy and I needed a place to go to.
It has been a rough go recently and I have had some major moments that have been tough, where I have desperately wanted to back to believing the myth, the myth that nothing bad ever happens. It does though. It did. And regreatably for us all, it will, at some point.
Today, however, is shining. It is a gift, bright and wonderful and I will take this glorious gift and see whats inside. Maybe I will dye some eggs today and hopefully, we will fry some bream from our pond for supper. I am now heading out to ride my horses and enjoy them and their company. I will scratch my dogs' bellies and maybe too, I will cut the grass so the Easter Bunny can have nice places to hide his eggs on Sunday.
So....Happy Easter, Happy April Fool's Day, and whatever you are supposed to do on Mauday Thursday. And....Long live the myths.