Recall that The Wizard of Oz was published in 1900 at the conclusion of one era and the beginning of another. Professor Marvel is old. Dorothy is young. The 19th-century American archetype for flight was “running away to join the circus.” A lifetime of running away has landed this man in a dusty gully, with only his horse for company.
We learn from the faded lettering on his carnival wagon that he has been “acclaimed by the crowned heads of Europe.” That’s another running-away strategy- when you think you’re living the life of a nobody, associate yourself with a Somebody and lose yourself in them.
Professor Marvel can read your past and future in his crystal ball. He can juggle for you too, if you like. On the side of the wagon he’s identified as a balloon exhibitionist, a talent that will come in handy later.
But for now, he, Dorothy and Toto must get acquainted. He sizes up Dorothy as a kindred spirit doing what he did decades ago, running away.
“Now, why are you running away? No, no, now don’t tell me. They… they don’t understand you at home…”
That’s an interesting word, understand. It implies that an understood person stands upon a foundation provided by those beneath them. Sometimes we hear references from grateful people, perhaps when being honored for a great accomplishment, that they stand on the shoulders of those who came before them.
Think of those persons who have held you up, who have stood under you, supported you. For the moment, no one stands under Dorothy. She thinks she’s on her own, without support.
-from Ch. 7: Marvelous Encounter
For Your Reflection:
How do you recognize a fellow traveler when you see one?
What experiences in your life’s journey have equipped you to help fellow travelers?
When have you felt that you have been understood?
On whose shoulders do you stand?
Do you have a son or daughter, grandchild, niece, nephew, Godchild or student who needs to feel your understanding, your support? Can you send them a little message of love and support today?
Pick up a book today to hear the rest of this story.
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