This age is hinged on a insatiable thirst for beauty. Not the sleep-scented morning cuddle from your child, first shoots of Spring green, deeply nourishing and uplifting kind of beauty. It’s the quest for beauty all shiny wrapped and “trend” driven, perfectly styled and untouchable. It’s the elusive one that we’re told holds the key to happiness and that of our children. Such is its power, it sees us squandering precious life moments glued to screens as we pin and screen shot immaculate lives with immaculate children playing in immaculate play spaces. The once bouyant idea to create a sacred haven for messy play loses any ability to flesh out its bones as our pin boards and instagram feeds are overrun with hollow styling components. Sadly, translatable ideas in our own real lives along with the very action needed to birth them, are rendered mute. Overwhelmed by perfection we just never get around to it. With tenderness I ask you, is this what your heart was looking for?
So what is the antidote for such paralysis? It’s simply starting.
Start with that mud kitchen you’ve been coveting, that sandpit, that outdoor play space you’ve put on a pedestal. Then try looking past the advertising smoke and mirrors and see what it truly is with the eyes of your inner child. Dirt, mud, sand and all the glorious fun that comes from raking your nails through it, embedding your toes in it. I invite you to scan your backyard, your frontyard…your courtyard*, pick up a shovel and dig a hole. A great big full-of-life-giving-microbes hole. A perfectly un-styled, un-landscaped patch of exploration, grounding and connection. Find an odd wooden spoon from the depths of your second draw, a scalded pot perhaps, call out your wildlings and leave them to it.
It certainly won’t present an image that overthrows algorithms with its grandness. But I promise you, it will get your littles out in the thick of a juicy life, connected to country, and grounded in their own miraculous bodies. Doesn’t that sound like all kinds of beautiful?
*if your outdoor space is full on concrete or hovers metres above the ground, perhaps a few bucketfuls of earth foraged from a friend’s garden either heaped up in a corner, shoveled into a large upcycled vessel or contained between a few planks of wood. Where there’s a will there’s a way.