I don’t always play enough. Here are 4 ways I sometimes remember to play:
- I play with food to make pretty plates and party treats …
A Peep s’more, just before the microwave … Peep swimming in hot coffee.
2. I play with my camera to make pretty pictures …
Spare parts waiting assembly into whirligigs by the late Vollis Simpson of Lucame, NC, a mechanic whose intolerance of waste turned him into an acclaimed folk artist.
3. I play with plants to make pretty gardens, pretty decorations (and even some yummy fruit) …
A blue hydrangea shrub is the base for lots of summer bouquets.
4. I play with beads and wire to make pretty jewelry.
My own Wonder Woman “cuff of power,” stacks and stacks of bracelets I made.
I don’t often just get silly. At the same time, when I read the obituary for Maine schoolteacher Peter Brawn a couple weeks back, I remembered (again) that play can be the center of anything we do.
Brawn taught, fished, guided, and lobstered. One of his lessons about Alaskan native culture involved carving up an entire seal in his middle school’s gymnasium. His friends remembered as a favorite phrase: “You’re not here for a long time. You’re here for a good time.”
Robert Frost said it differently in one of my favorite poems about New England living, “Two Tramps in Mudtime.” The narrator is splitting wood when two tramps arrive and one wants to be paid for the job. The narrator is unwilling, not because he can’t pay the man, but because he wants to enjoy his own skill by splitting the wood himself:
Only where love and need are one,
And the work is play for mortal stakes,
Is the deed ever really done
For Heaven and the future’s sakes.
Or, as the author of Ecclesiastes tells us:
“I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and do good in one’s lifetime; moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor — it is the gift of God.” (Eccl. 3:12-13)
See good in and from my labor.
Have a good time.
And whether you’re cutting loose with abandon or cutting a silly joke at work, remember to play.
This post is part of today’s Five Minute Friday linkup, “Play”