Friday night I went to see "Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix" in Imax 3D. Like a lot of people I thought the first half dragged - but the second half was so incredible I don't mind at all. In fact, previous to this movie, there were 8,363 different kinds of badass in the world. But after Dumbledore's duel with Voldemort, there are now 8,365 different kinds of badass.
Then I got my hands on HP7 - and after reading the first few pages realized that I really needed to re-acquaint myself with HP6, so I started re-reading.
One of the things that crossed my mind during the movie, and I've been idly wondering about ever since. What would my Patronus charm be? To summon the Patronus, one must recall the happiest moments in one's life. So I thought about what those moments would be - tried hard to recall happy childhood memories. Sadly i didn't come up with much - I was an energetic and mischievous kid, but not a very happy one. I did vividly recall, though, being quite young, and after a heavy snowfall sledding down the very steep hill next to our house on my grandfather's back - the wind whipping tears from my eyes, and my grandfather laughing, laughing, laughing all the way down the hill.
Unlike the kids in the books, though - I'm an adult so I can draw on happy memories of a different sort; and I remembered also Valley Forge Park in the Autumn with L. - carrying her on my back up a hill so her feet wouldn't get wet from the fallen leaves, her whispering (for the first time to anyone, ever) "I love you, I love you, I love you." into my ear.
I remembered also a cold Sunday morning at a bookstore with C, her with her absurd latte concoctions, and me with a cup of coffee, black -no sugar. I leaned over and read her a poem by Billy Collins, "Another Reason I Don't Keep a Gun in the House" which is funny, touching, and about a naughty dog, all of which she found delightful. All was right with the world.
I remembered crossing the finish line at my first triathlon - desperately late due to a separated shoulder, solid steel bike and too-tight wetsuit - well, and also, I confess, my own singular lack of athletic grace. Still that last six miles of the run was pure joy, my heart beating and roaring like a lion, and I felt like I could swallow the sun. As I pounded up the last stretch, those already finished were milling around in the path of the finish line. My friend Bob, who'd coached and encouraged me, shouted loud enough that they heard it on the moon, "Make way for a TRIATHLETE!" - the crowd parted and it was like Degaulle entering Paris.
Or a cold, wet Spring morning, running alone, the 8 mile loop around Kelly Drive in Philadelphia. I passed under the Midvale bridge, and water was sheeting off the side - the rising sun caught it just so and it made a rainbow of mist and frost that was brilliant and glittered in a ridiculous, gawdy, absurd display of natural beauty that only I ever saw.
Those are the things I'd think of as I cast my Patronus, were I to do so. I'm not sure what creature would come out? Maybe a lion. Not a monkey though, for some reason that doesn't feel right.
So tell me friends - what would you think of when the dementors were breathing down your neck, sucking all the joy from the world, and you cast your Patronus Charm? What would your Patronus look like?