August 17th, 2004
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There are some children in a nearby park that have discovered a large orange hollow tube, big enough to sit in. It’s appearance is a bit of a mystery, just kinda showed up one day last week. It looks like it might be a tube slide that came unbolted from a jungle jim, made out of some kind of indestructible plastic. Ever since it’s discovery it has been the center of many new and exciting forms of play. I can hear them screaming and laughing as I type this. They have not left it, except maybe to eat and sleep. My mind wonders what games they have invented with it. How fascinating that children are always drawn to anything they can sit in.
I recall making a house out of a large box that our new fridge came in as a child. Cutting holes for windows, putting blankets inside for beds, making a door that closed and decorating the outside with worn out markers. I remember what the cardboard smelled like, and the feeling of dampness that came up from the ground underneath. I remember too cutting my knee on a large staple that was sticking out, and the blood stain that followed. But most of all I remember my obsession with my new space. I wanted to live in it permanently, eat all of my meals there, position it so that one could watch t.v. from inside, recieve my mail there. I had it all figured out. There was a secret knock, if omitted you were denied entry. And please remove yours shoes, we are trying to cut down on the little piles of grass that are building up in the corners. Would you like a process cheese and mayonnaise sandwich?
Joseph Campbell talks about recreating our childhood spaces as adults as a means of accessing our ‘sacred space’.
“A sacred space is any space that is set apart from the usual context of life. In the secular context, one is concerned with pairs of opposites: cause and effect, gain and loss, and so on. Sacred space has no function in the way of earning a living or a reputation. Practical use is not the dominant feature of anything in the space…I think a good way to conceive of sacred space is as a playground.”
I think in some ways my home now is just an extension of that cardboard box. It looks exactly like the images of the house I used to draw as a child. (My parents were actually called in by a concerned teacher who showed them dozens of the same picture of the house, eyebrow raised in disapproval. It seemed my artistic talent was being called into question.) The current home is filled with things I have collected on walks in the woods, decorated with paintings, toys and old furniture. What i have wanted to create most was a feeling of safety that surrounded the experience as a child. Is it possible to create safety? I think that one must come from within. There are still places that I am trying to heal.
It helps to give ourselves the space and the time to do the healing.
Maybe I should borrow the orange tube for a while.

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