Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Ahh, Peace and Quiet.
A while ago at our adult meeting for stake conference, one of the members of the stake presidency compared himself to Winnie the Pooh and assigned the other members with character roles from the Hundred Acre Wood. I remember hearing a speaker years ago at church use the same characterization of herself and others in a talk she gave.
I have to admit, if I were to pick my character, I would be Rabbit. I tend to get grouchy like Rabbit does. I think this comes from my grandpa, a no-nonsense guy who did not tolerate horseplay. He enjoyed good wholesome fun, after all he and my grandma did square dancing for years and even went to a square dancing convention in Denver, but he was impatient with silliness and wastefulness. I find myself being the same way.
This came clearly to my mind recently when I took my children ice skating. My friend KeeNan lives in Huntsville, Utah, and she had told me about the great ice skating place (it's not really a pond or a rink, more of a "slab") the city has up there. Anyone can go, it's at the city park, and you can rent ice skates from across the street at the little restaurant for only $2.
When we arrived and I gazed upon the serene, quiet, frozen wonderland, devoid of noisy human activity I found myself quoting Rabbit in my head from a Disney Winnie-the-Pooh movie that I've seen 100 times, because we've had it since my oldest was 2. "Ahhh, peace and quiet, and no Tiggers!" Rabbit says this at the beginning of a scene while he (is Rabbit a he?) is blissfully gliding on the ice. Unbeknownst to him, he is about to be pounced by a gleeful Tigger. Tigger simply wants to say hello and have fun, and that's his way of doing it.
I love Tigger's bounciness, but at the same time it annoys me. As I watched my children descend upon the ice and discover the joy of skating, each in his or her own way, I wished we could do this more often. So many simple joys in nature await us, sledding and skating and hiking, if we can create the time, away from the distractions, the Tiggers of our life. These are the electronic forms of entertainment that compete for my children's leisure time. They are fun and exciting like Tigger, but can also get annoying. (Don't worry, this is not a long post on the evils of TV or video games. I'll save that for another time. My point is something else.)
I expressed to KeeNan my joy at being able to bring my children to come ice skate. We had entered something fresh out of Little Women, complete with church bells ringing. It seemed so old-fashioned and charming. (While we were there at the ice the bells on the LDS church across the street rang to mark the hour.) I told her that every city should have a place to ice skate like that and I wondered aloud what it would take. This ice skating place was nothing fancy. It wasn't even an official rink, just a huge place with the snow plowed off to the edges and a slab of ice put down. The walls around the "rink" were walls of snow.
She told me that all it takes is volunteers who are willing to put in the time to create it and maintain it. Someone to plow the snow. Someone to get a fire truck and spray lots of water so it can freeze into a fun place to skate. That got me wondering, what is it in my home, not even in my community, that I could create if I just volunteered? What fun, charming, nonelectronic classic joys of yesteryear and nature can I create for my children and my family if I have the spirit of volunteerism? It's definitely something to think about.
KeeNan is a great example to me of this, both in her family and in reaching out to her community. She could have kept quiet about the ice skating but she sent an email out inviting all her friends to come skate and use her home as a pit stop to get hot cocoa. She also collects ice skates from D.I. (a second-hand store) and loans them out to her friends. She had enough, plus even a hockey stick and puck from D.I. (much to the delight of my eight-year-old) that she outfitted my whole crew. We didn't have to spend a dime to go ice skating and it was soooo much fun. Thank you KeeNan. May the spirit of volunteerism and old-fashioned fun revive in our families and communities. That's all it takes to recapture the pure, old-fashioned classic joys of nature. The peace and quiet afforded when life was simpler and safer.