Thursday, April 5, 2012

Time for Recess

It's been a crazy week of coordinating five people and one car, deadlines and tournaments, important stuff and urgent things, early morning practices and late night games. And yesterday was probably the busiest of all.

So the fast food stop that turned two stomachs, including mine, late last night was not terribly welcome: I got about three hours of good sleep and a wonky hip from contorting into a child's bed during the night.

I took the day slowly but there were still lots of things to be done. Early in the afternoon, the puppy began to whine so I leashed him up and set out, a zombie in the bright sunshine, for a walk.

Fresh air and exercise didn't fully revive me, but enough that I could fully open my eyes to appreciate the daffodils and the Easter wresths and flowers on neighbouring houses.

It was recess time at our local school when we made the turn to our home stretch and several girls ran over to ask about our absent child. I talked with them and then watched two girls poring over a book, three boys running to stomp on a bench, with some yelling about a power plant needing to be shut down; two quiet girls building with sticks, and a tribe of shrieking children running between bushes at the perimeter of the property.

It made me think of spring lambs, gamboling. It made me think of my own refreshing experience of being outside. It made me think how simply grand it is to have recess -- and how we all need that, and probably every day.

Some of us need to sit quietly and read the books we choose to read, while others need to run and yell at the tops of our lungs. We all need to stretch our muscles and air out our stale brains, whether we are six or fifty-six.

The other night I listened to John Tesh on the radio as I drove between science fair and hockey game and back to science fair. Apparently Tesh offers Intelligence for Your Life, and really I shouldn't mock, because that is precisely what I got. He reported a study that said only 1/3 of all Americans take a lunch break at all. The rest eat at their desks or skip lunch altogether -- even when company policy dictates otherwise. The study also showed that the lunch-takers experienced far fewer sick days and less stress on the job. It's not rocket science, but we forget, don't we?

It's why I got a dog: because good intentions are far gentler than something actually scratching at your leg, far less compelling than a set of sad eyes, far quieter than a plaintive whine.

And yet, boy oh boy, our bodies and spirits cry out for recess. We need to play in the sunshine -- even for a few short minutes. This weekend, you've probably got a million things to do, people to see, meals to prepare (and in our case, hockey games to attend - grr) -- but make sure you take a few minutes to run around and play outside too.

If you need help, I'd be happy to lend you the dog.

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