If you have ever witnessed young children at play in the park or on the playground you have doubtless noticed the easy manner of their interactions. No one is excluded, all are welcome. New participants seamlessly blend into the current situation at hand, whether it be maneuvering down the slide, crossing the wobbly bridge or joining a dramatic play rendering of the family dynamic. They negotiate the rules and parts together and continue to shift the focus in an ongoing fashion.
This is especially true with young children. As part of my Master's thesis I observed preschool children in a dual language (ASL and English) program and analyzed their interactions while at play. Sitting there with my notebook, jotting down all that was said and how they solved complicated disputes on their own, I wondered "Why can't adults get along so easily?"
This past weekend I found an answer. Adults do. They really do.
We do when we allow ourselves to let down our guard and come together in such a way that is open, friendly and formed through the seeds of mutual interest. Mutual interest at our gathering on Saturday was good 'ol blogging. A dozen bloggers from as far away as London, England got together near Washington DC to meet (some for the first time) to share stories, carouse a bit and welcome spring by dancing around the May pole.
Our ring leader Reya, she of the dancing eyes and mischievous smile, led us in our dance with instructions to "grab a ribbon and fill it with energy". We each chose a ribbon that 'spoke' to us (a blue one for me imprinted with my favorite flower -daisies) and held it for a moment while we thought good wishes and desires for the year to come. What each individual held in their hearts is a mystery but I filled mine with a simple wish; 'happiness'.
Letting go of my inner desire or need to do this right, I began my clockwise rotation around the pole while those directly in front and behind me started their walk counter clockwise. Weaving around one another, in and out, brought out the giggles and soon we were all laughing, dancing and feeling the moment.
As our ribbons got shorter the quilt work of our intertwining tapestry forming on the May pole got more and more intricate. It was a concrete testament to our strengthening rhythm, our finding a groove together, our connection to one another blooming like children on a playground. By the time we tied our ribbons off our friendships were also sealed.
Afterwards dear, sexy Lettuce surprised me the gift of a dozen children's books she had hauled in her suitcase all the way from England. Some of the titles are 'vedy, vedy' English, such as The Queen's Knickers by Nicholas Allan. Most of them I was unfamiliar with but look as though they will become familiar favorites like The Big Alfie and Annie Rose Storybook by Shirley Hughes and The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me by Roald Dahl.
I look forward to sharing these with my students for years to come. They are, of course, made all the more special by their journey and by the simple act of giving in friendship. How wonderful.
I will conclude this post by first giving thanks to our hosts Barbara and David and extending a thank you to my new blog kin. It was a pleasure.
The picture below is my favorite one of the day. It was not the image I had started out to capture because just as I pressed down on the button to take the picture the dog Jake ran after a ball. That night as I reviewed each shot I almost deleted this one but stopped myself because I began to admire the movement and symmetry of the give and take, the moving forward and going after something and how what is outside of the frame is just as important as what was captured. Kinda like the day.