Thursday, June 07, 2007

Silly Putty


There is no escaping the tangible qualities of life.

I sat down this morning to write an essay on The Art of Play. I had been walking in the early summer chill and reflecting on the idea that we do things, most of us, because we enjoy doing them.

It seems an obvious concept, and yet so many times we stop doing the things that we enjoy because we realize that they are good for us. As soon as I say to myself, "I need to walk everyday," I stop wanting to walk. I have forgotten the element of Play that prompted me to walk in the first place.

I forget what I love about walking. The early morning smell of dampness and the tempered brightness of the sun. I forget about the edge of coolness and the quiet at that time of day. I forget about the feel of my leg muscles lengthening and stretching, and the awareness of my body that comes from moving it.

I started writing about this, ready to explore the implications of why we are so drawn, as adults, to abandon Play. Somehow we feel compelled to measure the productivity of everything that we do. We are uneasy with the idea of playing for the pure pleasure of tactile sensation, or scaling the mental monkey-bars of daydreams just because it is fun. So we immediately discipline it into a form that is respectable to someone else. We make it public, we receive affirmation for it. And then we don't really like it anymore.

Play is pure, fleeting, temporary and un-formed. There is a time for play but you cannot schedule it. There is a time to stop, and you cannot prolong it past that time. It is personal, and shared only with those who can play along without dissecting or directing it too much.

I started to write about all of this, but my daughter has reported to me that there is Silly Putty stuck in her fleece pajamas.

3 comments:

Momma played Bass.... said...

Ha ha ha - i LOVE it.

I saw a clip last night from the movie "Knocked Up". (which I know nothing about - just that the actor was on the Daily Show). Anyway, there were two Dads in the park, watching the kids playing with bubbles and one guy says "look at them... I wish there were anything that I love like kids love bubbles". It got me thinking....

Kulio said...

ohh, child-like play is something that we should study, for sure!

I remember asking my best friend down the street (before I met ya momma), to "Come over and play."

That was it! No big plan, no timeline, no expectation, except play.

kool kenna said...

nice.