Tune Up Your Imagination!

Going a marveling with my son.

When you feel like you’ve run out of options or your world is looking really small, try tuning up your imagination for a new burst of ideas and energy!

I was in need of inspiration and new ideas recently so I took took an imagination tune-up trip with my son to Fripp Island in South Carolina. Our perfectly sized, 3-bedroom cottage had a lovely screened-in porch that overlooked a lagoon.

It was one of those mystical, Southern lagoons where dripping Spanish moss overhung a still pool of algae dense water. And each night at dusk, white egrets (and a few lesser blue herons) flew in to nest. Not just two or three mind you but at least 50, maybe more. It was nothing short of amazing. We were temporary neighbors to a bird rookery.

As dark fell, the egrets began squabbling over roosting rights and lesser birds were tossed to the water below where a short panicked squawk ended inside the jaws of an 8-foot gator who also called the lagoon home. 

This bird behavior is known as siblicide and nesting incidents are not uncommon according to Cornell’s ornithology website. Listening to their primordial calls against the soft, nearly-silent swimming strokes of the alligator in the green water beneath them was like listening to the dawn of the world.

Talk about fodder for the imagination! After one night of cocktails beside the rookery I was dreaming of indigenous Indians in alligator thongs silently paddling hand-hewn canoes through salty inlets, their long black hair adorned with egret feathers, sharpened harpoons in hand. I awoke very aware that deep in my DNA, small units of Indian blood still remembered some stuff.

On the island, I dreamed Technicolor dreams.

The next day we drove our “Little Engine That Could” golf cart two blocks to the beach. Remember that childhood classic? Our cart’s battery was on its last legs, as were the underinflated tires, and it huffed and puffed as it climbed the bridge over the inlet, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!” Which led to delightful visions of Mrs. Graines who “kept” me sometimes when I was three. Neither of us could read very well so she read that book to me a lot. The big fairy-tale book stayed on the shelf when she came to spend the night. But she brought saltines, which we ate with tiny cups of my mother’s favorite Constant Comment tea, served from my doll’s tea set. No one else thought to do that with me and I found the practice quite delightful. I hadn’t thought of her in years and enjoyed the remembrance.

And then there was the Atlantic ocean with its Rip Tides, playful dolphins, and sunsets. As I watched a young teen swimming too far from the shore, near the red warning flag, I remembered almost dying with my Daddy at Folly Beach and being rescued by a motorcycle-riding Marine.

Walking the shoreline in the early morning, we passed beached jellyfish ranging in size from silver dollars to dinner plates, their stingers still loaded with venom and spreading out into the surrounding sand like a perfectly set trap for the unsuspecting. It was all I could do to keep my little dog Pip from eating one. (Pip enjoys organic, wild-sourced snacks of all kinds on a nauseatingly regular basis.)

While it was a short trip, only three nights, it was a grand stirring of the imagination.

I arrived home inspired again thanks to a little dose of salty sea, the miracles of mother nature, and the motion-pictures-for-one that live inside us all.

When will you make time for your next imagination tune-up?

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