Earth laughs in flowers. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Nature is by nature playful. She invites us in to enjoy and to renew. Taking walks in nature slow us down, connect us to something bigger than ourselves and allow us to be more centered. Having eyes to vision the world at its finest, we see the playful side of nature and find our place in that play.
One way my family found our place in that play was creating a family tradition of collecting rocks. This tradition actually started with my son, Ben. He was an avid rock collector. I would sort through clothes as I prepared to wash them and carefully scoured Ben’s pants pockets because there always was a collection of rocks that he discovered as he explored the creek bed, played in the woods or waited for the school bus. He wanted to take a bit of nature and keep it for himself. Ben was given the book, Everybody Needs a Rock, by Bird Baylor one Christmas. It became a treasure equal in status with his rocks.
I am sorry for kids
who don’t have
a rock for a friend.
I am sorry for kids
WIND UP DRAGONS
AND THINGS LIKE THAT—
if they don’t have
for a friend.
~Everybody Needs a Rock by Byrd Baylor (page 1)
Ben intuitively knew that in nature we have friendship, and through collecting rocks, he brought that friendship into his home.
Ben’s rock collecting became a family tradition. We started to keep our eyes out for the one rock we could bring home from a trip to make that trip stay alive in our home. We looked for heart-shaped rocks, which adorn various parts of the house. Collecting rocks became a past-time that brought our family together in nature and in fun. The rocks have become a part of our home landscape and have become, as the flowers were for Emerson, our fun. “The earth laughs in rocks” could be a motto of our family.
Two years ago we were celebrating Marjorie, my mother-in-law’s 90th birthday. Relatives and friends came to help us celebrate—one of whom was Marjorie’s great, great granddaughter, Katie. Katie hit it off with my daughter, Rachel that day. They went on a treasure hunt for the rocks and pieces of nature (shells, sea glass, driftwood and other nature finds) scattered throughout our house. Katie took to rearranging the nature objects and for months to come I discovered little Katie treasures left in new spots throughout the house. Each time one was discovered, I smiled, grateful for the fun that nature brought not only to my family, but to my extended family as well.
Nature is the best playground. Play with her. Responsibly collect pieces of her. Rejuvenate through her. Create in her and let her recreate you. Nature is fun. How do you play in and with nature?
PLAY-TITUDE #17: Find a rock and make a friend.Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for dedicating space and time for writers and teachers of writing to come together to share ideas, practice and life experience.