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Giant Sandbox

On my neighborhood walks I frequently make a point to walk past a particular home that is partway up a steep hill. I like the hill because when I try to keep going at my fast pace all the way up and over, it gets my heart really pumping. But the big draw for me is the lot at the bottom of the hill that is essentially an ever-changing woodland sculpture garden. The man who lives there keeps it all natural, using rocks, branches, fallen trees, and sticks to create wonderful sculptures without nails, saw, or other manmade objects. It’s just him and all he finds there. He calls it his “giant sandbox” and he says it’s relaxing and fun to putter about, building things in it.

“Creativity is intelligence having fun.” – Albert Einstein

I love that he and his wife have chosen to keep the property so charming and natural. The yard closer to the house is naturalized with native flowers and plants. This is her part. Both are just lovely. They feel no need to gather up all the sticks and branches and burn them or haul them off to the mulch site. Instead, he plays with them, creating mind-boggling balancing acts, stacks of sticks, and eye-pleasing arrangements, while she keeps the flowers going. I noticed the other day that some of the plants in the yard are labeled. Painted fern, hellebore, bluebell. Thank you.

I am certainly not alone in loving their yard and their work. Many of us walkers enjoy it. And the deer do, too.

I love it when people’s creative pursuits take them outdoors, where they’ll concoct something wonderful for all of us passersby to enjoy them. A treehouse with a rounded door. Crazy metal sculptures made from found objects. Fences dressed up with sticks and whatnot. House numbers all wonky by the front door. I love to see the unique ways people dress up their outdoor spaces. Everyone has a creative bone in their body, no matter what they say. We all just use it differently. And that’s what’s great.

“Everybody is talented because everybody who is human has something to express.” – Brenda Ueland

Unfortunately for me and all the other walkers who stop to look and maybe take photos, this property has been sold and a house will be built on the site of the Giant Sandbox. I suppose the couple who are leaving will be creating something new in a new place and other people will have the privilege of being inspired by them. For now, I’m still going by, taking photos and marveling at the ingenuity of the creative soul. And I’m thinking about what I might do in my own yard, just for fun.

“To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it.” – Osho

“Serious art is born from serious play.” – Julia Cameron

If you’re looking for my cards or art, you’ll find all of that on my website. And if you enjoy these letters, feel free to forward this one to anyone you think might like it. Finally, you’ll find past letters and poems here.

Thanks for listening,

P.S. MerryThoughts is the name of my first book, out of print at the moment. The word is a British one, referring both to a wishbone and to the ritual of breaking the wishbone with the intention of either having a wish granted or being the one who marries first, thus the “merry thoughts.”
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