Perched like a bird atop the toylike tiny lighthouse, the little ship sits. Smaller than the wingspan of a swan, but with sails spread wider than those of a soaring gull, it spins, seemingly swayed by sea-sent winds and salty breezes, this way, and that.
From a distance, it is misdiagnosed, and swiftly dismissed, by adult minds as a weather vane or, vainer still, not as a device intended to assist in the prediction of winds, but as an ornament. Indeed, the little ship does resemble one of those that you sometimes find forced into a bottle, and beached forever after on a windowsill or shelf belonging to an aunt, a nan, or, perhaps, a once-ship-faring granddad.
In fact, this particular ship is a compass. Veering and swerving, spinning and turning, it is in tune with a tide that is timeless; with waves that are endless; with an ocean that is eternal. This is the watery expanse we call the imagination, and which flows between all things, unseen but sensed; invisible, but tangible; mostly in our hopes, fears, dreams, and wishes, but sometimes, by a small number of especially sensitive people, by that thing we call ‘the sixth sense’.
Children already have this, of course. Before the world warns them that such things are make-believe, even madness, they can see, hear, and feel the sea of imagination in which we swim and, at times, dive into deeply. Very young children might feel themselves fully submerged; older children may only remember where they are anchored during daydreams, or when their everyday selves are sunk in sleep.
For this is where, in the nocturnal night tides of younger minds, the slim, slight ship slips through surf, glimmering gold betwixt the vast dark waves of that internal, immortal ocean. This is where it hails and hastens travellers to their destinations, their desires, drawing them aboard and, when settled, swelling to the size of an ark in order to traverse the darkest and wildest of waters.
This is where the finest, fanciest fantasies are fulfilled; where the living and the dead dance and drink and dine together; where all musings are made manifest, and all dreams, dared.
The little ship that sits like a sparrow atop the tiny lighthouse spins, now, as you step towards it. And, like the finger of some fabled god, it spins; it stops; it points in your direction.