a museum of moments

Little House On The Prairie
Children at Play
Nassau County Museum, Roslyn, NY
Feeding Ducks

I took these photos of the beans this past August, at the Nassau County Museum in Roslyn, NY. It’s all of eight minutes from our house, and it’s magical. I used to go there with boyfriends in high school. Different kind of magic now. I saved the post and managed to skip posting them. I see the photos now, as I dig through saved drafts of posts never published, and I’m reminded of two important things.

1. The importance of play in our lives, as adults. Margaritas are fun, especially with Queso Diablo (ground up spicy meat and chopped tomato in a cheese sauce, served with tortilla chips), but they aren’t play. “Girls night” is also rarely play. It’s talk and food and comments on the food. Unless, of course, there’s some play element involved along with drinks or dinner. Dinner in the dark, say. Or if it’s a jelly party. You know, where you taste your way through spoonfuls of jams, sipping wine afterward, hoping to detect even more of the red currant, to differentiate gooseberry from black raspberry. Ooh, or if it’s a Jelly Bean Wine Bar party. That’s play (has anyone tried this? I think it’s one of those things that sounds fun but isn’t). I wrote about this topic last year, too. I’m seeing a pattern.

I owe it to myself to create a play list, one that may very well sidestep music. This year I feel that I’ve touched on play, particularly where there’s “Something to show for it,” as in a scrapbook or drawing.

Art to me is always play because I never know where it will go exactly, and it’s more about the process than it is about the product, at least for me. I want to take more drawing lessons. I took a few watercolor classes at the 92nd Street Y, figure drawing in college. But I’d like to take another art class, just for the sake of play.I need more of that in my life. Also, I need more Tracy Chapman. Calligraphy, too. Free loopy letters might just shut off part of my brain, at least for some of the time, which is the aim.

An improvisation class would be fun play. Or musical theater. Just for fun, for new friends, to break out of my world.

Anything involving sweat or physical effort or coordination in any sense is never going to be play for me. Other than badminton, I have zero fun in sports. This has always been the case. If you asked my mother how I played as a child, she’d likely say, “On her ass.” Well, no, my mother is too nice to say that. But I’ll say it. My favorite pastime was dressing my Barbie dolls and making them have orgies. I loved pretending most, making up outrageous storylines. Oddly, I now don’t write fiction. I think that’s fear-driven, though. Fear of failing, so I don’t try. Fear is a great thief.

Pot luck dinners. Dinners in general, served at home, with invited guests. Board games. Old school suburbs. I want more of that in my life, too. Which means daring to invite people over, despite our cramped rental condo. I need to get over it!

2. The importance of nature. There’s a healing quality to nature that soothes us, that brings us back to ourselves, the people we were born to be, the inquisitive, restful, curious, pondering souls we were as children. It’s restorative. That day in August, when I chased after the beans, weaving through trees, I giggled. To myself. And said aloud, “I am so happy.” And, I really am. I’m reminded of it when I’m alone, or at least quiet, touching grass, sitting amid the trees. We all need this.



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