Bring Back Playtime


It’s hot; the sun beats down on my head, causing sweat to trickle down the back of my neck and behind my ears. Not even July and the humidity is oppressive enough to make your breath catch. Not ideal for being outside unless you’re submerged in water, but I have a goal in sight, so the discomfort is an afterthought.

I’m holding a butterfly net (the name is inaccurate since I am too fond of butterflies and their delicate wings to risk harming them this way) and slowly creeping up to a honeysuckle vine, its sweet scent cloying in the heat. Cicadas buzz everywhere. In the trees. Flying overhead. In the honeysuckle itself. A particularly plump one is perched in front of my face. It alights and I swing the net lazily, more for the theatrics than actually wanting to catch it. Cicadas are loud, but harmless. If you are calm and gentle and reach your hand out to one, it will walk right onto your fingers. I toss the net into the grass and coax a new cicada onto my arm. Its legs tickle.

My memory would fit well into the tapestry of my childhood years, but it’s sweeter since it happened earlier this week. I’m a few months from entering into my thirty-eighth year, and I’m embracing playtime. It’s not a new part of me, but it’s one I have to cultivate the older I get. It’s that way for most people. The years bring more responsibilities, more heartaches and bills and relatives or friends dying. I wish more of us would remember that creativity and play are not silly. They’re not frivolous or meant only for children or parents of children. It’s the right and need of every human on this planet to embrace creation. Even if no one else sees it. Trust me, I don’t think the neighbors are spying on me during my outdoor insect hunting expeditions. (If they are, they should come say hello.)

But my body knows the joy of movement and the warmth of the sun on my skin. My mind hums in appreciation when I see paint stains on my fingers. My brain sings when I while away a morning working on one of my books. Not my serious fiction books. The lighter ones. The ones I’d have read as a child, full of magical animals and beautiful places that don’t exist. Those, at least, will be out in the world, in time. I hope they bring the same joy to others they’ve given me.

There’s ugliness and unfairness in the world. There’s crime, and war, and disease, and betrayal and people who don’t use their turn signals. But there’s also art, and running in the sun, and using your hands to shape clay or bake bread for no other reason than the fun of it. I choose to embrace wonder. I choose to play.

– Sara Myriad

One Comment

  • Lucky Number Eleven

    “They are enlightened who join in this play knowing it as play, for people suffer only because they take as
    serious what the gods made for fun.”
    —Alan Watts

    Well said, Sara. This is an excellent reminder that life should be fun. Too many of us forget that. Everything we do should be in the pursuit of joy for ourselves and the people we love.

    Also, I loved the quick line about people who don’t use turn signals. Hilarious.

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