Thursday, January 24, 2008

Play is the Work of Children

After our playdate, we walked little Ellie the four doors down to her house, then Mia and I turned to home. Half an inch of fresh snow had merely dusted the grass, but all the paved surfaces were turned into inviting slates, begging for prints in the clean powder. Mia picked up a stick and drew pictures, letters, faces.

She didn't want to come inside, but I was cold, gloveless just to run Ellie home so I told her, "You can play outside as long as you stay where I can see you from the front window." So she stayed outside for a while, chattering to herself, no, not chattering, but narrating herself, busy with her hieroglyphics, bursting into a trot for a few steps, looking up once or twice to see me waving and wave back. She seemed to dance with invisible partners, play a private game with elaborate and inscrutable rules.

"Don't take toys away from Eleanor," I had told her today. "Her play is how she learns. It's like when you do your work at school. No one takes away your materials when you are working at school, do they?" She shakes her head. Perhaps this comparison makes sense to her. We will see.

The fading light had drained all color outside but Mia's pink coat. I think of my favorite love song, "Your looks are laughable, they're unphotographable. But still you're my favorite work of art." Because the moment seems beyond capture.

No comments: