Palestinian children playing in rubble caused by an Israeli bomb.
Photo by Mahmud Hams
There are many ways to get reacquainted with–and even fall back in love with–a wounded place: vigil, music, art, prayer. And play.
Playing is a way to get intimate with a place, even a wounded one. For children, even disaster offers opportunities to imagine the world anew and quickly enter into it. The photograph above shows Palestinian children playing amidst the rubble of a building destroyed by an Israeli bomb. An adult might see that pile of concrete and stone and think: someone’s home, might think: avoid this out of respect or remembrance or possible danger. For the children it was just an opportunity for climbing, hiding, pretending, exploring–for being in magical relationship with the world.
To play in a wounded place is not at all to forget the reality of what is before you. When we allow ourselves to be immersed in the world before us without trying to make anything in particular happen… without having to learn, clean, repair, or improve, then a sense of intimacy with our surroundings springs up. Boundaries between us and the world dissolve. Try it. After all, you haven’t forgotten how.