Monday, July 28, 2008


I spent Sunday with my husband and a chainsaw. We thinned some trees that needed to be thinned for fire mitigation, we de-limbed others for the same reason. We moved a bunch of dirt and rocks and used some of those cut trees to build jumps and bridges and lots of other things that are fun to ride your bike on.

Krista Tippet of Speaking of Faith was on NPR that afternoon. Her subject was the Spirituality of Play, and how important play is and how, as adults, we somehow stop doing the one thing that made us happier than anything when we were kids.

I am often scraped and bruised and dirty, but I never think I'm too old to be falling down as much as I do. I fall down hard at least once every week. I'm always happy that I usually jump right up continue the ride. Mostly, though, I'm happy that I'm still doing things that occasionally make me hurt myself. I think an interesting survey would be to ask people in their 30's and 40's "When was the last time you fell down while playing?"

Tennis with your wii doesn't count.

I used to work for a recreation department. We had a ropes course, and corporations were always bringing their employees out for "team building". I don't know if these courses ever built effective teams, but I do know that the participants always started out with their arms crossed and their eyes rolling and thinking that the whole day was a waste of time. By the time they were on the zip line, or the climbing wall, or playing dodge ball with their bosses, it was like they were different people. They were all drunk on adrenaline and endorphins and holding their stomachs they were laughing so hard. At least one of them would say to me, "Wow. You get to do this every day? How lucky."

I would tell that person, "You can do this everyday, too. Do you know there's an Ultimate Frisbee league in town. Have you ever ridden your bike down the tow path?"

Our recreation department offered all kinds of courses. From climbing to caving to mountain biking. Without a doubt, the majority of our clients were school groups and corporations. In other words, people who were forced to be there.

How lucky, indeed. How lucky to know that I'm probably going to have a new bruise by the end of the week, and how lucky to have a long skinny bridge and a brand new jump in my own backyard.


trent_gilliss said...

I must admit that I can be one of those scowling, skeptical employees who's a bit owly when it comes to "team-building" exercises. I'll try to keep your advice in mind as I encounter these activities in the next couple of days.

Trent, online editor for Speaking of Faith

westvillageidiot said...

Perhaps your question was rhetorical, but I'm in my 30's & am biting. The last time I fell was one week ago. I was in a Baptiste power vinyasa class. The instructor called out "arm balance," so I flew into Bakasana. Feeling strong & confident, I next shot back my legs into Chaturanga. And fell hard. On my face. And then I burst into a great belly laugh. Play, indeed.