Go play. Play often. Play outside, inside, with friends, with strangers and by yourself.
Lately I’ve cartwheeled on parking lots and pastures. Walked through tall grass to taste an October apple on a wild apple tree. Given piggy back rides anywhere, anytime. Rapped freestyle for an audience of one at an outdoor amphitheater. Listened to a solo voice concert at the same amphitheater. Searched for and picked forest mushrooms just to marvel at their individual character. Turned it all the way up and sang along, hitting all the notes, with Celine Dion. Interacted with strangers just because they looked interesting. Gave every interaction the time and attention to play out the unique magic of an unexpected encounter, an unlooked for adventure. I’ve hugged huge pines. Worn a mustache. Sampled an apple from each of 10 different wild trees. Dropped for pushups in the gas station parking lot. Screeched elk bugles into the Wisconsin woods. Dug in the sand and soil. Stacked rocks. Admired a glacial erratic muscovite-schist. Skipped along the sidewalk. Imitated celebrities. Imitated accents. Imitated geese, cranes and ducks. Made bouquets of grasses, herbs and tamarack boughs. Made bouquets of wildflowers. Improvised new versions of Jack and The Beanstalk and The Three Little Pigs. Said aloud “Good morning!” to the sun, “Good night” to the moon, “Thank you” to Orion and the Big Dipper.
Why? Because you’re alive. Because the sun, the stars, the moon. Because the billion microorganisms alive in every teaspoon of soil. Because the particles that you are made of, each born in the death of an ancient star. Because you are breathing the same air as Mozart, Marco Polo and Mary Oliver. Why not? Who cares? Go play. Run in your blue jeans, pick a bag of raspberries, splash in the cold water, sing to your nephew. Do your work. Take care of yourself, your friends, your family. And let play run through it all. Coax it out of others, encourage and foster it in others, and spend time with those that spiral the play to higher, funnier and funner levels. Don’t be bashful. We live on a most amazing playground filled with the most interesting characters. You are made to play.