Happy New Year!
Before Christmas, I was shopping for a book for a gift for someone and stumbled upon a book called the Artists' Way, there was a book and a workbook. Without paying too much attention to the content, I snatched it up thinking it would be helpful for my students. I started reading it and realized it would be great for me to go through too, so I started to do the work it suggests to unlock my creativity block. I didn't really think I had one. Even so, I was greatly enjoying the exercises and lo and behold, it is definitely working to un-clutter my mind from negative, unnecessary, or unwanted clutter that tends to roam around up there. So, I suggest it for anyone with that issue... A third component to the book and the workbook is called the Artist Date. In this book, it suggests to go on a date each week with only you and your inner child, or artistic self. This idea of the artistic side of you being like your inner child is not new and actually makes a lot of sense.
Today was the first chance I had this new year to go on an artist date. I had a break while Parker was at her gymnastics class, so I set out (at their suggestion) to a nearby park, which was a park called Shillito.
This place has a warm, fuzzy familiarity to me, as it used to be a place I took my kids all the time when they were little. When Tyler and Jack loved trains, I would take them there and we would pull right up to where the trains went by and we would be SO close it would shake the car as the train would thunder by. The boys thought it was so cool that I knew this secret spot to watch a LIVE TRAIN. One of the neatest things about Shillito Park is that it is one of the last wooden playground structures left. The construction of this playground is genius in the way that many of its tunnels and pathways can only be entered or exited if you are of the very small child size variety, but it looks very big from the outside. I had the park all to myself because it was covered in snow and a whopping 4 degrees outside, so for most it wasn't the best day to play in the park, but it made for a perfect date for me and my inner child.
I made a B-line for the swings---it's always the swings. They are my favorite! They were also all covered in snow at first glance, so I was trying to pick one out that was most in the sunshine in hopes it wouldn't freeze my behind. Then I saw that someone as crazy as me had beat me to the swings- and had already cleared the snow and warmed my seat!!! I saw their tracks, but no sight of this other person meeting at the park with their inner child today. I had my time on the swings, then walked around to check out the sandbox (or presently, the mulchbox), the Ship, the Castle (that I can't fit into-but wanted to) I seriously considered trying, but it wasn't a good day to get stuck in the castle with no one to hear me yell for help, so I continued on to the Big Metal Slide, the Bouncy Bridge, the Monkey Bars, theTire Tower, the BIG Donut Swing, and so much more---It really is the Coolest Playground!
When you are a child, the world seems big and mysterious and each day is so full of things to see and do and learn and so many worlds to imagine so you soak it all in, but as you get older, the world seems smaller, less able to deliver, less mysterious, and more heartbreaking, and you have to really search hard to find the wonder of it all, and that for most people is too much work and takes too much extra time. So most people quit looking and just get through it.
While I was on my way to the Bouncy Bridge from the Big Metal Slide, I saw this quote carved into the wood right under a blob of used gum:) (this is also the best thing about a wood playground-THE LOST ART OF CARVINGS). It was just a nice sweet thing to see there today. It says "MTW-BABY LOVE YOUR SELF OR NO ONE WILL
Some days I worry that I am hard to know or hard to love because my head is always still halfway in the clouds and halfway in the adult world of realism, but this day reminded me that I really do love myself that way, and I prefer to be half filled with wonder, imaginary worlds, and tiny tunnels that stuffy persnickety grown ups can't get into. So I shall be just me, just as I am....
Until we meet again,