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Snow Day

New Year's Day. Cross school field. Tucson, 2015.

Some mornings may surprise you.

On that first day of the year, I couldn't believe what I saw: our prickly pear cacti were all white-eared; mesquite branches were dusted just like trees on Christmas cards. Ice sparkled through the palo verdes in this flowery way I'd never seen.

Instinctively, I pulled my camera from a shelf and walked down the road. When I reached the school field, the grass had been replaced by snow. The mountains looked fresh. The blue-white brightness--everywhere-- was so new to me I squealed.

I took pictures for at least an hour, never considering perfect angles or composition or that this was supposed to be my exercise time-of-day. What I knew:

This is snow. This snow is here, right now. It's time to play. Come on!

How often do we play? Do we need to play? Are our schedules in our grown-up lives really so important that we have to be in responsibility mode 100% of the time?

Sometimes I grumble inside when I have to step away from my busy-ness to tend to a conversation with a real-live person I love. Imagine! I don't want to be this way. I just get so transfixed with this not-true belief that work is good and non-work is not good. Logic, ideal. Kid-like time, unnecessary.

When writing this blog post last week, even though I wanted so BADLY to finish it on a particular day, because I was already A WHOLE MONTH late, I had to force myself to stop typing. I stood up, turned off the computer, and went outside.

My mother sometimes had to urge me outside when I'd been in my room reading books or doodling on paper for half the day. I sometimes needed the encouragement to move around, call up my friends and just go roller skating.

I think we all need to hear this get-outside-and play-suggestion every day because work is our go-to. We're used to it. And the idea of play can seem like a chore.

It takes effort to get started, but play can make other parts of the day seem a little more sunny, or bright. Like eating decent food, or getting enough rest, we need a good dose of silliness in order to feel human, live longer, stay steady. Right?

I believe in the importance of play so much that I fuse writing-play into all of my classes. Oh, how writers' faces light up when they get to do this very child-like activity: freewriting. They write whatever comes to mind. Make whatever they want. Most of the time what they make while in play mode is pretty amazing.

So maybe you need a little play in your day, right now? Maybe there's snow outside and you don't even see it?

Try going outside. Make a snowman or a sand angel or some design out of the clouds. Then skip home. See if it doesn't change you.

I wish you much playfulness in the new year! Best wishes....


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