I want to play too!

Originally published on Sunflower Creative Arts’ blog March 2011

One day while I’m out running I stop at the park in my neighborhood. I look around to make sure nobody is watching, and then I jump on the swing.

Thinking of my three-year-old, because this is something we usually do together, I pump my legs and point my feet– up to touch the leaves on the trees, up to touch the birds, up to touch the blue-blue sky, up to touch the sun!–until I’m as high as I can go. The swing is at the very tiptop of its arc and I’m suspended weightless for just a second, and then I fall back. I’ve got my favorite song playing on my iPod and I close my eyes and rise and fall into the music. Beautiful. That’s it. I’m flying.

This surrender to gravity is a powerful feeling. With each arc, I can feel a bone-deep understanding of the hours and hours both my daughters have spent, just swinging. “I’m going to swing forever. I’m going to swing till I die! No you can’t stop me–I’m never gonna get out of this swing!”

Pretty soon though, I do stop and open my eyes, reluctantly, because I am an adult after all– and I do realize I can’t swing forever. Probably my family misses me. They need me to come back home…

I see a car drive by the park, and I hope they don’t see me. I feel a little crazy. Silly, because adults don’t come to the playground alone, with no kids, and just swing and swing. But I feel good. Peaceful. Balanced. Somewhere deep inside me I really needed that.

For children, play is a way to deal with complex emotions, to feel their bodies move in space, to experiment with their own voice, to try out different roles and test relationships and discover creativity and feel their own power. All this sounds pretty nice to me.

When do we adults ever get a chance to do any of that?

At what point in our lives do we stop playing? When do we become so self-conscious and serious and forget that the world is a beautiful, ever-changing wondrous place?

And wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t forget? What if all of us adults actually remembered what if feels like to play?

Imagine what better friends, parents, partners–people–we could be if we just made the decision to play a little, not to take life so seriously. Just for a minute, to let go of of all the ‘shoulds’ and worries and responsibilities that tie up our lives, and instead give ourselves up to the simple push and pull of gravity.

*The feeling described in this essay is the spark that started my blog/adventure, discovered in play.

Read more of my writing

The Search for Truth, Beauty and Love

Originally published on discovered in play, September 2012

I’m a writer and photographer. It’s kind of what I do.

It’s kind of what we all do…

“A wise man once said that all human activity is a form of play. And the highest form of play is the search for Truth, Beauty and Love. What more is needed? Should there be a ‘meaning’ as well, that will be a bonus? If we waste time looking for life’s meaning, we may have no time to live — or to play.” –Arthur C. Clarke

I’ll admit, I’ve been trying to discern and pin down the meaning of life (really the meaning of my life) ever since I was old enough to put those words to it. Probably before.

Yes, I realize this is one of the least practical, most day-dreamy, answer-less things one can do with one’s time. But, like I said: it’s what I do. I observe and I write and I take pictures, and I try to figure it all out.

I haven’t figured it all out. It’s possible I never will.

I know I especially never will if all I ever do is sit back and observe and write and take pictures…

I have to–we all have to–jump in the game and live, experience, do, play.

No matter what.

Life has a way of leaving us all breathless with both heartache and wonder.

If you needed a reason, that’s why you’re here: to feel that. All of that.

True, that’s maybe a little heavier than I bargained for when I said I wanted to play. But I’m up for the challenge!

Read more of my writing