When I first saw that the challenge for this week’s photo challenge was “Dense,” I thought of all the ways that this could be portrayed. Cities with a seemingly never ending stream of buildings and people rendering movement impossible at times jumped to mind first. Or, I thought of a density of flowers or a nature sequence. My home state of South Dakota is dense with corn and wheat fields amidst an open, and in its own way dense, blue sky. I also thought about the beauty that comes from being in a rural area for seeing the stars. There is nothing quite like laying out in the grass with no light pollution, being able to soak in the Milky Way, the planets and the constellations. Have you ever seen, and I mean truly seen, the Big Dipper, the Little Dipper, O’Ryan’s Belt? It’s a memorable experience that I think everyone should have. Quietness and nothing (which SD has plenty of) is in many ways an opportunity to appreciate the density of the world and for realizing how small we truly are when put up against it.
When I thought about how small I was compared to the world, it reminded me of being a child when literally everything seemed so much bigger and much more overwhelming. However, there is an innocence that comes with being child-like. The world certainly is bigger, but the mindset and attitude of a child allows them to see the world in a way we often lose as an adult. Children see the world with hope and joy, and this allows them to live their life in a fearless way. They do not focus on the future, but rather on the present. The little things in life amuse, amaze and inspire them. They are not afraid to ask for help as they are dependent upon those around them, but at the same time balance that with discovering who they are as an independent person. They are moldable and teachable, but are also honest and not afraid to take risks. Children are not afraid of failure, and instead take everything in. They are in a constant state of learning: about the world, human behavior, themselves.
We have a lot we can learn as adults from children.
One of my favorite childhood memories was bonding with my mom over reading Harry Potter. She would read the stories to me at first because I was too young to read. As I got older, we would take turns reading the books (each one often finishing the book within a couple hours) and discuss what happened. These are memories that I will forever cherish. This last January, I was able to go to Edinburgh with my mom.
The Elephant House in Edinburgh is famously known as the café where J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter. It’s a pretty famous tourist spot to snap a picture of yourself at the front of the café, often because it is too busy to actually go inside. However, since we were there on the off-season for tourism, we were able to eat breakfast at the same table that she sat at to write Harry Potter. With a view of Edinburg Castle out one window and interesting decorations to look at in the café, I could see why J.K. Rowling was inspired by writing here. For this photo challenge, I thought of one aspect of this café that I thought was very fitting.
Over the years, fans from all over the world have come to the Elephant House and written graffiti on the walls of the bathroom. When I say graffiti, I mean every single centimeter of the walls, and even over the mirrors, is completely covered. This “dense” writing symbolizing the dense fanbase of the beloved Harry Potter series. It was quite a site to behold. For me, though, this picture has an even more special meaning.
This picture reminds me of my childhood memories with my mom reading Harry Potter to me. Our mutual love of the series created a bond that will never be broken. How special it was for me to be able to go to the birthplace of Harry Potter with my mom. It was like we were transported back in time to when I was 5 years old sitting in our living room when my mom introduced me to a boy-turned-wizard named Harry Potter. This is a memory that I will never forget.
I was reminded with this photo challenge, and by my picture when I reflected on it, that I could benefit from being more childlike. A life lived with hope, joy, with fearlessness, a life filled with more fun and being able to enjoy the present moment is a life I want to strive to live. I think the world could benefit from this too. In the midst of a world filled with darkness and violence, we need hope and joy. Who doesn’t want that? The question is where to start. Well, this starts with each of us. If we can learn to become more child-like we will help those around us too as well. I truly believe that this would change and make the world a much better place for everyone.