A Short Meditation on Play

What comes to mind when you think about play? Truth be told, when I see and hear a gaggle of kids playing together, leading their own adventures, it fills me with joy and happiness. There is a tinge of nostalgia too for a time when I was a tad younger and play was more in the realm of a ‘core’ activity.

Though I’m a few decades removed from those halcyon days of mischief and merriment, I thoroughly enjoy moments of play with our own kids. I count myself as fortunate when I’m invited to participate, or get to see this play up close. It fills my heart. In fact, I’ve been dreaming of a job as an embedded photographer documenting the spontaneity of kids at play. Let me know if you hear of any openings.

And there’s always a vicarious bump of adrenalin and excitement when I witness kids immersed in the moment. The tumultuous racket of school recesses never fails to grab my attention. The next time you pass by a school during recess, stop, look and listen.

For the 15 minutes of glorious release, the school playground is like an orchestra in motion, kinetic soundscapes of bobbing colour. This is where the kids rule, where they run, talk, laugh, find common cause and resolve disputes. This is where their thirst for free form fun is getting quenched. When I do get the chance to hear it, that rolling crescendo made possible by a critical mass of kids, I invariably smile. It takes me back to my own childhood, to british bulldog, red rover, tag, sports and the freedom to play.

What comes to mind when you think about play?