Another memory. Although living in the middle of a big city, I regularly seek out, with a friend, those magical places behind a row of garages where cloaking ivy grows and where old scraps of paper we find became treasure maps; scratches in dilapidated fences become secret symbols; and discarded junk becomes treasure.
The two things I desired at that time were escape and adventure. When my imagination wasn't enough on its own, I turned to books to find them. The first books that I can *remember* reading are: The Secret Garden, The Hobbit, and The Wind in the Willows.
They all contain dragons. Or you might even say that they are dragons.
If asked to describe a dragon, one of the first things I’d mention are its wings; wings which allow for escape and exploration. What do dragons do? They they terrify, they fascinate, they guard a rich and valuable hoard of human treasure.
Dragons, for me, can come in the shape of a terrible winged monster; or of a hidden garden awaiting discovery by a lonely young girl; or of a mole and water-rat having adventures along the river bank.
Dragons, for me, are story.
*this post is in response to Terri Windling's latest Moveable Feast "The Desire for Dragons" over at her blog Myth & Moor.
"Escape and adventure." That's precisely what I wanted too -- and, like you, sought in the land around me (yes, even dilapidated urban landscapes have their hidden wonders!), and in stories...and also in music (the magical songs of Cat Stevens, Donovan, Steeleye Span, etc., the soundtrack of my youth).ReplyDelete
In one sense, Lynn, you *did* rise from that school on wings...and they carried you here, to your present life in Germany, full of myth, art, and adventure.
Fabulous soundtrack you had!Delete
Even today, as much as I crave being in nature, I am still fascinated by the secret corners of magic in a crumbling urban core. There's a special poignance to them.
Love your last line. Thank you!
This is so true.ReplyDelete
Interesting... love the sprouting of wings and flying away... I can relate!ReplyDelete
Wings are such a powerful symbol, aren't they!Delete
It is very provocative to describe story itself as a dragon. I'm reminded of The Neverending Story, in which a luckdragon is Atreyu's means of transport. Usually dragons are not used in this way, but are more often obstacles to a hero's movement. Yet I think there is something about the dragon which is essential for our imagination, just as there is something essential about the labyrinth. I think maybe every story is a labyrinth just as much as it is a dragon. And while most stories in which dragons appear have them as obstacles, the deeper 'function' of even these dragons is to transport us, the readers and hearers of the story, somewhere else, somewhere far away, through realms and puzzles few other symbols can penetrate.ReplyDelete
Thanks for your comment, Edward!Delete
I must say, I was hit by a whimsy when I got to thinking about dragons *as* story, and had a bit of fun subverting what is often their overt role as obstacle into one a bit more oblique and symbolic. As you said of their function, it's to "transport us."
And yes! Story as labyrinth is a wonderful metaphor.
i had winged horse... faster and prettier than dragonReplyDelete
How beautiful, a winged horse. Power, grace, speed, intelligence, and flight.Delete