Today I caught the familiar train from London to my temporary home in the countryside. I watched as the tight grey cracked slowly into open land, bleeding us all into the light. Noses pressed against glass, now we saw our reflections spitting us back. I saw birds spinning on wires and a broken scarecrow leaning dangerously over a pond. I saw faces of people who didn't want the lives they had, they turned to me as they twisted inside their ghosts.
Then I saw her, a little girl with brown curls wearing a pink tutu. Her mother was behind her, shivering in her coat and the little girl was in a fluffy, puffy leotard playing good toes, naughty toes on the platform. How wonderful I thought, to decide that today, yes, today I am to be a ballerina. Yesterday I wanted to play nurse, but today I want to dance. Perhaps in her beautiful imaginary world she was on the stage and the train was applauding her from the tracks.
My little niece decides that any day is a good day out for wearing a pair of slippers and a top with a sequined parrot sewn on the front. Any day is good for wearing a tall hat made out of wallpaper and eating dinner dressed like Minnie Mouse. Any rainy day is for playing pirates shipwrecked in a storm.
Children don't writhe around inside a costume they put on every day, they choose their costume. I cannot bear to see creative and imaginative children being told to sit, to stop drawing, dreaming, dancing. We can learn well that way and to stop that is to put an end to where visionaries come from.
The little girl on the platform didn't stand out because of what she was wearing, it was because of who she was being.
We still do all have the opportunity for that.