Pulling on the memories of childhood, I can recall my favorite pleasures in nature. Spending hours enthralled in the sounds of the water rushing over the rocks and feeling its force through my fingers, as I pretended to be part of its power. A daily occurrence and the one thing I always looked forward to. An activity that I might not have experienced, had it not been for the creek, whose gentle sounds separated me from the city noise just a few yards away. I recall wondering up and down the creek, trying to find its beginnings and its end, always knowing that if I followed the creek, it would always take me home. It was here where I learned patience, and how to calm my inner voice. It was here where I discovered the power of my senses. It was here that I learned what it meant to be alive. I remember climbing on to the trees as they appeared to be extending a hand inviting me to climb, calming my heart with their rhythmic chatter as the wind gave them voice. The sounds of the forest animals kept me company, and the little frogs that graced me with their presence let me know that I belonged.
Though these experiences only lasted a year, I carry them with me still. The unassuming nature of nature allowed me to keep that feeling alive for all these years, a practiced that I continued with my children and one that my children continue with theirs. Nature has no judgment, no bias, no discrimination, it doesn’t tell you how to be, nor does it have expectations. It is simply life in color, diverse, non-conforming, unassuming, and always welcoming. Here I was whoever or whatever I wanted to be. With nature I am free and I belong. This was, is and will always be my playground.
So often we take too many things for granted, and too often do we impose our thoughts feelings, and desired behaviors onto others, without realizing how much we take away from those we judge. Yes, I am proposing that the definition of play, in our multitasking realities, is an infringement upon the fabric of creativity. When children engage in adult driven activities, they lose the opportunity to create a reality of their own. They are stripped of their autonomy to think and understand within the boundaries of their experiences, and limits curiosity.
As an adult, I continue to need the comforts of nature. It is there where I can fine tune my thoughts, or rid myself of them, without judgment or restrictions. I can entertain this relationship without boundaries, and free of intrusion. Here I can play with my own rules, express my curiosities and recharge so that I am able to engage in the entanglements of an ever changing environment that is life. Find your connections to play, live to play, and play to live.