On a recent visit to an elementary school, I remembered one thing which has been cherished in my bosom for so many years.
I don't quite know how it started, but when I was a 2nd grader the fad among boys was to make "canals" on the desk in the classroom. The wood was soft, and you could cut tracks with the ball point pen. The ball would eventually come off the pen, which one used as a "vessel" which "voyaged" through the canals.
Needless to say, the vandalism was not particularly recommended by the school teacher. You were not supposed to damage the school property. In a strange twilight of illegal activities that is open only to a child, we competed who could make the most interesting map of canals on the desk.
It was a play in imagination. I developed a kingdom, named the places, and the network grew in my mind like a throbbing organization.
At the end of the semester, there was a desk shuffle, and I had to say goodbye to my beloved kingdom. The canals were still within my reach though. In March, when I became a 3rd grader, we moved to a new classroom. On the last afternoon, I went to touch the wood. I vividly remember my canals lit by the sunshine from the window.
I have not seen my canals since. How I miss them.