The cottonwood tree still stands where Walt and Ruth Disney played and waded in the spring that ran near it. You can imagine a young Walt, watching and playing alongside his sister, spending hours in the shade of this once large cottonwood.
Daydreaming under this tree, a young Walt would watch and absorb the nature surrounding him. He later called these moments “belly botany” and drew from them in his creation of the Silly Symphonies. This dreaming tree was one of his favorite spots and on trips back to Marceline, Walt would always make time to visit, think, reflect, and dream under the tree.
Inspiration comes from many places. For Walt Disney, as a child he found much of his inspiration beneath this tree.
A cottonwood tree located on a family farm in Marceline, Missouri might be something that most might ignore or miss…but for Walt it was a place to think and imagine.
Kids have an amazing ability to dream, they can take the simple things and with a little imagination have the best time ever. Perhaps in our fast paced world we have lost the ability to slow down and dream but it might be good for all of us…no matter what our age.
Where is it that you take time to pause, reflect, process, and dream?
If you don’t have a place where that can happen for you…then my suggestion is that you need to go find you a dreaming tree. There is surely
nothing magical about the place but what happens there…well, it might just be a little bit magical.
Recent studies have revealed that taking a few moments to daydream isn’t just for kids but can make a person better equipped to face life itself. The research study said a little dreaming helps in…
Relaxation: daydreaming allows the mind to take a relaxing break from everyday thoughts and problem solving.
Conflict Management: Daydreaming allows a person to revisit conflict and offers the opportunity to see it from a new perspective.
Relationship Maintenance: Daydreaming allows happy couples to imagine positive interactions with each other. These “imagined interactions” have the same effect as psychologically maintaining the relationship claims James Honeycutt, PhD, author of Imagined Interactions. On the flip side it seems, unhappy couples may daydream about fights and unpleasant interactions.
Increased Productivity: Facing large tasks can be mentally daunting. Allowing yourself to daydream about, people, things, or experiences that motivate and inspire you can give you an extra productive push.
Better Knowledge of Yourself, Your Beliefs, and Your Values: Daydreaming about experiences, conversations, or debates gives you an opportunity to add depth to your beliefs and values and learn about yourself.
Increased Creativity and Goal Achievement: This is what most associate with Walt Disney and the time he spent under his dreaming tree. Thinking about goals and dreams without having to worry about the limits of reality can inspire you to set higher goals, shoot for the stars, and work harder to achieve your goals. Daydreaming may also help you keep your mind on long-term goals in the face of immediate challenge.
So…all that being said, a wandering mind can be very productive! As long as you are willing to follow up the dreaming with some good old fashioned, “roll up your sleeves” and get to work!
All of us need time to step back and process the world we live in. We need time to reflect and pray.
We need time to catch our breath and we need time to allow our imaginations and hearts to be reignited to face the tough world we live in.
A small sign accompanying the tree reads, “Daydreaming under the giant Cottonwood, young Walt Disney would observe the whole of nature surrounding him – the bugs, animals, birds and sounds of the wind.”
The tree has been damaged by lightning and a replacement taken from the original tree has been planted. By the way it has been planted in soil from the Magic Kingdom and initially watered with some water from the Rivers of America. It will be a welcomed reminder of where Walt once dreamed…but the place where Walt was inspired was important to Walt…it is fun to look at but the real question is the one we asked before…where do you take the time to pause, reflect, process, and dream?
Find yourself a dreaming tree…and let your imagination run wild.
It will be good for and who knows? It might just change the world!