Growing up, I lived in a house with a full attic — more like a third floor really. Like most people, we kept all sorts of junk in that space. My sister and I each had our own individual areas for books, toys and pictures, and I would often times take the stairs to the attic and rummage for something to do or make. Nothing revolutionary or groundbreaking resulted from my time there, but it was an important place for me. In fact, I still think about it. It was there that I could be alone and stretch my imagination. It was my domain — my kingdom.
It’s interesting to note that the enchanted world of imagination that C.S. Lewis created for the series of children’s books known as The Chronicles of Narnia found its start in an old attic:
As a young child, Lewis’ fascination with myths and legends was fed by his nurse Lizzie’s story-telling. Lewis began to make up stories, centring on his childhood home of Little Lea in East Belfast. Little Lea was a grand, imposing house. To Lewis and his older brother Warnie, the house seemed more like a city than a home. Lewis once said that he was
‘…a product of long corridors, empty sunlit rooms, upstairs indoor silences and attics explored in solitude.
Lewis and Warnie used to play for hours in the attic – writing stories and drawing pictures. They created a strange, imaginary kingdom called Animal Land, which was populated by talking animals, and drew maps of an imaginary country called Boxon – which is now seen as a simpler version of Narnia.
There’s something inspiring about old things in the attic, isn’t there? They lead the mind to think about the shadows of time and the experiences of those who lived before. I remember my father’s old Air Force uniform hanging in the attic. I’d put on his blue hat and coat, thinking that somehow I’d be able to share in his earlier military experiences.
Day 5 Guide
The paths leading to the apprehension of beauty are unlimited. Consider how best you are able to restore the warm feelings that connect you to greater ideas and people. Take advantage of memory, music and art.
© 2005, Levi Hill