I am loving that the long-awaited spring has finally returned. NYC and Newark, like much of the country, had a particularly harsh winter. We had our highest bill ever for the gas heating. It was a chilly and long, if beautiful and snowy, winter.
A few clear signs that spring has arrived: I see an occasional egret, its snowy-white body with a long neck and beak, in the Meadowlands of NJ from the train. The cherry blossoms are (finally) beginning to bloom. Independence Park across the street is teeming with people playing catch, shooting hoops, and–most notably–there are usually three or four soccer games going on simultaneously.
A new sign of spring this year–bocci games in the park. Several of us use a site called Nextdoor to share local happenings, and I was delighted to see an open invitation on the site to come play bocci on the weekend.
You may ask, what do egrets and bocci have in common? Playfulness and joyful presence.
During winter, many of us huddled indoors, conserving energy. The warmth of spring is an invitation to play. Whether the egret doing its little dance, flapping its wings, or whether the bocci and soccer players in the park, play allows us to be present, to enjoy our surroundings and the activity we’re engaged in. Play lets us abandon our worries and immerse ourselves in the pure joy of living.
If I were writing a word-chain, it would be something like: play-nature-joy-peace-movement. Physical movement helps us not to stay stuck in tired mental or emotional energy. When walking in the woods or splashing in water, we let it go. We move into a new energy.
Play also lets us be creative, spontaneous, open to new ideas. How could that not spill over into the rest of our lives? When we’re open to being playful, we see creative possibilities that before, we were unable to see. We can be more flexible at work. We see new ways to be healthy–solutions, rather than problems.
So enjoy the unveiling of spring, and let yourself be carried away by the sheer beauty of it–fragrant cherry blossoms, yellow wildflowers, dancing egrets and all.