Friday, March 16, 2012

The Poetics of Play

I was watching two of my grandsons play the other day. Playing … real physical play … the kind that involves muddy hands and scratched knees, and unbounded imagination. The kind of play which is becoming increasingly rare.

The strange thing about play, especially play within a wonderful landscape, is that it exists as everything … a magnitude of possibilities. That mound of dirt is a mountain. That puddle is a lake where dreams sail as small fingers float leaves and tiny twigs. Seeing my grandsons’ shining eyes as they play outdoors in the melting snowy rivulets of a newly awakening spring, something stirs in me from my own childhood. The interaction of child and environment that is an integral leap of physical and emotional joy.

This the kind of play that is the physical equivalent of music and poetry. Strangeness, wonder, paradox … the art of real play speaks its own language. It is, I believe, of immeasurable benefit to the health of the body and soul. No one can be really well in a world that continually sacrifices real play.

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