Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Child's Play

I am "babysitting" and watching the Curious George movie with a little friend of mine as I write this. The opening scene is a beautiful, colorful interpretation of nature. Animals are frolicking and playing with the things they find. I am struck by George blowing a blade of grass. I remember back to my childhood... We looked for the fattest pieces of grass to hold between our thumbs to make the funniest noises possible. Acorns became hats for our thumbs. Fox glove blossoms became doll dresses. Rocks were split open to play jewelry store. Nature was our playground. Plants were our playthings.

Do you remember running through a field just to feel the wind on your face? Do you remember rolling down a hill just to feel your body move in tune with its surroundings, lying on your back at the bottom of hill, and watching the world spin around you? Do you remember climbing a tree just to see if you could do it and enjoying the view once you got to the top?

I am watching a little monkey with a child's eyes. The little boy's giggle reminds me of when the world was shiny new. I remember when the sky was the bluest thing I could imagine and the grass was green like emeralds. Tree bark was rough. Mimosa blossoms were soft. I noticed when the ants were in a big hurry even when I was too...I noticed everything. I was part of nature. The awareness of the world around me made me content with my place and eager to explore it.

Stop to see things through a child's eyes. Stop to see nature as something new and precious. View it as a companion. It is a playground that can keep you occupied all afternoon or for a lifetime.
Show it the same reverence you would give a favored playmate and allow its friendship to harbor you through all your years. For over sixty years, the Curious George series of books have reminded us about child-like curiosity. H.A. and Margret Rey said that they always remembered what they liked as children and created stories to appeal to that. It would do us all a little good to reach inside of us to find those little children (and curious monkeys) peeking out.

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