A View from Sierra County

Small town life and politics, lots of knitting, and travels with and without my five burros

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Location: In the Sierra Nevadas, United States

I blog about rural living and social issues, and the creativity that comes from knitting, as well as post random pictures of the Sierras and my burros. "In order to be an artist, one must be deeply rooted in the society" - Simone de Beauvoir


Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Where the Wild Things Are

My knitting life for the past several days has consisted of making face cloths for Cloths for Katrina, which is good, because they are mindless, get done quickly and are for a very good cause. I have made four so far, and have a fifth on the needles. The Cloths group has grown to close to 150 members, all making washcloths, with three members in charge of distribution to regional churches, shelters and other direct service sites.

Making clohts is also good, because the last two weeks have gone by in a blur, as I attempt to work two jobs, both for demanding non-profits, and to fit two shifts in at our crafts cooperative. I don't have any time left to think about solving a more complex knitting problem and need the solace and instant gratification of results.

Did anyone mention when are you going to get a life? I have been wondering that myself, as I drive home at 7 PM, having left somewhere around 12 hours before.... is all of this really worth it?

Yesterday afternoon, in the midst of the chaos came a moment, well actually about 10 minutes, where I got a glimmer of why it's all worthwhile. I just started directing a day care/preschool program, and have been putting back together the shambles of finances, sick workers and sick children, and a facility in need of cleaning and repair. Our afternoon had been long, crowded and hot. There was a shift in energy when the one kindergartner needing a ride to the bus home from elementary school left with my co-worker and two younger children. I noticed that two five-year olds had begun an imaginative play where one was chasing the other and hissing... I was told that she was "not just a snake, but a python". The other started roaring and making claws from fingers to brandish about, and informed me that he was "Godzilla"... to my ultimate amusement, a two-year old observer began hissing like a python as well. The two younger toddlers in the room were mesmerized.

Now many saner people would have tried to stop the running around this generated, or to channel the children outside or somehow diffuse the energy, but for me this was a very exciting event. When my (now-grown) children were preschool age, Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak, was the most heavily-read book in the house. I applaud imaginative play as the most necessary tool in early childhood development, and want children to become creative adults capable of thinking critically. After all, the world needs more knitters and other artists, and it certainly needs more problem-solvers. What better role models of creativity for the toddlers than three slightly older children having a blast with their imaginations running wild (quite literally!).

The mood was broken when the absent group of one adult and two toddlers returned; it was too complicated and magical to try to explain that this had been a very beneficial experience for us all... I could only be thankful to have been an observer, not a director, and to have witnessed children inventing their own activities. THAT is why I am doing this, and I am grateful to be given a reminder when I am most tired and unsure.


Blogger Teyla said...

When life gets too complicated a child can bring everything into focus of what we are really truly here to do. What a great story. I am glad you got to witness that as well.

11:27 PM  

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