“Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality.”
― Lewis Carroll
As a kid, my imagination was my best friend. It helped me escape into a world that I created. I could be anything that I wanted. I could be a doctor on Monday, a teacher on Tuesday, a chef on Wednesday, an architect on Thursday, a fashion designer on Friday, and a homebody on the weekend. I’d turn building blocks into fortress walls, placement mats into swords, and blank sheets of paper into tales of adventure. But all friendships are susceptible to misunderstanding. Ours wasn’t different. That’s when reality drew a wedge between us.
“Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were, but without it we go nowhere.”
― Carl Sagan
As adults, we’re coerced into believing that reality is good for us. But reality can never let you fly without wings, see places with your eyes closed, listen to music in silence, or build castles in air. Reality can never be a friend. It can never get you through the rough spots in life. And it can never tell you: things will only get better from here.
“Yes: I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.”
― Oscar Wilde
Reality can take on many forms. Winter is one of them. It’s also the time when I miss my old friend — imagination. Imagination would’ve taken me to green pastures with blue skies and chirping birds. Sadly, as an adult, imagination is often mistaken for escapism.
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.”
― Mark Twain
In January, I was pleasantly surprised to see a stunning collection of ice sculptures — in the gardens of the Meiji Shrine. The out of this world exhibits combined the frigid cold of winter with the wonder of mythology and imagination. To me, these artists had defied conventional wisdom. They showed me: reality and imagination can coexist without resorting to escapism. You do not have to choose one over another.
“She always wanted to believe in things.”
― Kazuo Ishiguro
Well winter is almost over. Or at least that’s what the weather department says. Soon it will be spring. And that’s when nature will give in to her imagination. She will paint the bare branches green and dot them with countless spots of pink. I can already smell the sweet perfume of blossoms and hear the birds chirping…