What do a baby loon, a baby swallow and a singing teacher have in common?


A morning on Kettle Pond in Vermont. A baby loon is accompanied by her two parents. The parents duck under the water and reappear on the surface a distance away, again and again. The baby loon ducks her head underwater and keeps it there, watching her parents. She doesn’t go all the way underwater, she stays on the surface. But she soon will.

An afternoon in Putney, Vermont. A baby swallow has left the nest but can’t fly in the air yet. He scoots along on the grass, wings whirring. Four swallows dart around him, protecting him from dangers and showing him the way. He doesn’t fly yet. But he soon will.

A morning at the Vermont Jazz Center Summer Jazz Intensive. Jay Clayton is teaching seventeen singers to sing a four-part harmony arrangement of Conference of the Birds, a song in 5/4 time. She doesn’t hand out any papers, she sings each part until the singers have it, then moves on to the next part. Nor does she tell them that the song is in 5/4 time, she lets them feel it. They don’t have the song perfectly yet. But they will.

Children don’t need to use their conscious minds to learn things. They watch and emulate and they’ve learned it. It’s how we learn to walk, to speak, and on and on.

There is an abundance of instructional material for the mind to engage with on just about any subject. What is scarce is a direct experience with what we care about. Jung called this, “the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with objects it loves.”

Perhaps you and I can let our minds rest while our spirit and body absorb what learning we desire. May we go to school in a new way and play with what we love.

This entry was posted in Play. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.
Do you want to be at your best every day?
Subscribe with your email address
Enter Your email address:

Be at your best by following Rob Fletcher on Twitter:@robfletcher1