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I decided to play with words today but I struggled to get them all out of the box. I wanted happy laughing words that could chase away the cobwebs and the monsters. Many words I found brought me joy, tilting my lips slightly upward in the faintest hint of a smile, but none were powerful enough to make me chuckle, snicker or giggle. I couldn’t find happiness. Maybe painting will help me find happiness.

I chose to play with colors today. I had to ask permission before getting out the finger paints and water colors. I did manage an authentic smile as I dipped my left hand into the gooey greenness. I let my fingers walk down a grassy hill and felt the breeze softly moving the grass across the page. Without thinking, my hand found wet brown to form an anchoring tree at the right hand corner of my picture. Then blue goo was in my hand, only accidentally smeared with the unrinsed green and brown. Unaware, what I saw in my mind’s eye as a sunny blue sky soon became a sky cluttered with green-brown storm clouds. My smile faded as I noticed the gathering storm. Maybe I’ll find happiness in music.

I chose to play with music today. I sat at my piano and began by allowing my fingers to wander silently over the keys. I let the silence fill me until I could contain no more. The quiet burst out of my fingertips into a few rolling chords, strings inside clinging to the sound, pleased to be vibrating again. The dance of fingers on ivory had begun. The melody creeping in unseen, but building until it could not be ignored. Broken chords underscored the lilting line of song echoing through the empty house. The music took on a life of its own and transposed my mood from melancholy to joy, if but for a moment. It wasn’t long until the lilting happiness stumbled into a minor chord and gave way to 12-bar blues. My sadness returned like the coda to my afternoon. I shrugged as the final chord faded into silence, leaving me right back where I’d begun. Maybe I can find happiness in dance.

I played with movement today. In silence, I stood in the middle of my living room and focused on the sound of my breath. I closed my eyes and let my breath fill me through my lungs, down my legs, and into my feet. I began to feel forces pulling at my limbs as if ghosts were grabbing hold and trying to move me around the room. Before I surrendered my body to the forces I felt, I hit play on the stereo and let the music fill in all the empty spaces. I imagined my body immersed in the well of sound and as I moved through space, my body spread the paint around much as my hands did with the finger paints. I twisted, turned, stretched, and leaped until my breathing became louder than the music. I stopped cold in the middle of the floor where I’d begun. I melted onto the floor until I was flat on my back. I let the finger-painted sweat evaporate from my body as the music faded to silence. I turned my head and spotted it lying nonchalantly under the sofa. The word I couldn’t find before… I’d finally found happiness!

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