- 2020 Volume 15
A few months ago I made a playlist called Songs that Remind Me of Second Grade. Although this playlist has 74 songs, there are only a handful of songs that bring me back to the carefree, playful days of elementary school. Songs like "Rain in the Summertime" by The Alarm, "Good Life" by One Republic, and "The Whole of the Moon" by The Waterboys remind me of the playground in the fall, when the vibrant green drained out of the small oak trees and the small yard next to the chapel became splashed with a caramel hue. During recess, I would crouch on the wood chips and collect small pearly acorns that fell from the trees.
In the movie My Neighbor Totoro, dreams and reality are interwoven when the Totoro gives two girls a wrapped gift of acorns which they plant and (with the help of Totoro) grow into the clear night sky peppered with puffy clouds. When the tree reaches its full form, the girls cling to Totoro as he glides over the rice fields of the Japanese countryside. I remember a dream I had in elementary school in which I floated in the hall between the music room and the cafeteria, hovering a few feet off of the ground. The dream took place in such a realistic recreation of a typical environment in my life that I could have believed it to be true. When I looked down into my hands at the sunlight glinting off of the polished syrup colored acorns, I wonder if I counted them and thought about showing them to my friends, or if I imagined the leaf-wrapped acorns from Totoro, the dreams created on billowing white clouds and the buoyancy of flight.
photo by Cate Christiansen