Inspired By Play

A Novel in Two Books
by N. K. Johel

Run before you're shown the way to walkDance without knowing the steps Laugh out loud before they hush youAnd sing your indescribable JoyYou jump UP! - high as the moon

And kiss the stars as you fly byAnd I? I just stand here, breathlessin wonder, and sigh(as I watched small children play today) N.K. JohelSeptember 26, 2012

This Joy was unexpected...

It was a rainy, dreary day. I thought I'd better get to the gym as it'd been a week since I last went. I know, my bad. I met my sister for coffee before I went. We were talking about many things, and we touched on a few things that weren't easy. Growing up. Not just from when we were young, but how we are growing now. Sometimes it seems we never grew up, emotionally. Unable to stop and really listen, really get to the core of what is going on. No blame.It was a good conversation all and all, though it left me a little sad and melancholy as I made my way to the gym. After I finished my cardio work out I set on doing my half an hour stretching routine. Where I do my stretches overlooks the gymnasium below. Sometimes they have aerobic classes and other times they have a preschool class. Today it was the preschool class.I've always loved watching these children, both boys and girls of all nationalities together. My guess is that they are about four years old. The preschool teacher divides the gym in half by putting out plastic pylons. One side the children can ride on little plastic trikes, or cars. I watch them zoom around the area, amazingly not smashing into eachother...unless it's intentional. So far those little incidents hadn't created any real problems that I could see..

On the other side of the gym some equipment is brought out and the children play with them. Today it was huge fabric tubes that you lay on the ground so they become tunnels the children can crawl through.  But what happened next was what left me breathless and in wonder...

While I was doing some stretches facing away from the children, they must have pulled the tunnel apart. When I turned around, some of the children were inside the fabric tunnels, jumping up and down.  The tunnels sprang about looking like bouncing Slinkys! Little girls and little boys, jumping and jumping and jumping. By the look on their faces they seemed like they were ready to take flight. But the truth is, in my imagination, they were already flying!

I felt their exhilaration from where I stood, watching, still engaged in my stretches. The preschool teacher, I have to say, is pretty amazing. She didn't interfere, but just watched, as I did as the children found various ways to play with the funny fabric tunnels. One girl stood in the middle and pushed down at the walls and it bounced around her. They were being inventive with what they had. Experimenting. Just doing.

Meanwhile, the children on the trikes and cars zoomed, zoomed, zoomed around their half of the gym. I watched as their little legs pumped themselves forward with energy - Beeep Beeep Beeeping and throwing their heads back in laughter as they flew across the room.

It was a deeply sacred moment.

N.K. Johel