A happy talent

Central Park statue May 2007

Central Park, New York City, May 2007

“It is a happy talent to know how to play.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sometimes we confuse recreational activities with play, but the two are not always linked.  It’s possible to turn recreation– especially organized and scheduled pursuits– into just another task on our to-do list.  It’s also possible to play while engaged in duties that  most people would view as work.  Playfulness is an attitude that is not wholly dependent on external factors.

At its best, play involves some spontaneity.  We’ve all known of children whose lives are so over-scheduled with extra-curricular activites and “recreation” that there is no time to relax, daydream and goof off.  Most of us understand that children need some free time, but this sort of freedom is important for adults, too.  Are you working at your play?  Are there ways you can learn to incorporate play into your work?  Maybe Mary Poppins was onto something!


  1. Thanks so much for your post. I especially love the way you added Mary Poppins…one of my favorite people.

    • Thanks Marjorie, I love Mary Poppins too! “Practically perfect in every way.”

  2. Lovely photo! Did you take it?

    • Thank you! Yes, I took all the photos I post on this blog, except for the ones with me in them, which are usually taken by my husband. I thought that statue was so pretty I just had get a photo of it with the park in the background. I love Central Park.

  3. I am the world’s worst at making work out of play! Thanks for the admonition! A playful heart sounds like a winning attitude to have. I will WORK at it! :-)!
    By the way, I just recently saw that Mary Poppins was going to be on TV. I recorded it on our DVR. She most definitely was on to something! We can all use a spoonful of sugar. Remember Uncle Albert?! What kind of laugh do you have????

    • I think it’s easy to fall into the trap of making work out of play, especially on vacation or other things that have tight schedules associated with them. Some of my happiest memories are of working with people who knew how to have fun while doing a good job. Most of the people I have worked with who had the best sense of humor were also very efficient at their jobs; maybe the humor really did increase their efficiency. Morale is so important. I don’t really know what kind of laugh I have except that I think it’s pretty loud!

  4. Mike Bertoglio

    Is this statue in the north side Conservatory Garden? Going there in April to visit my older son-Kris-a high school teacher. Reading a book you might like”Plants, places and people,” by Lynden Miller who single handedly resurrected the Central park conservatory garden in the early 80’s after years of neglect and disuse. Amazing lady.

    • Mike, yes — the statue is near 105th and 5th – read more about it here. Thanks for the book info. I do admire these people who rescue neglected historical and cultural sites.

  5. Any post that validates the awesomeness of Mary Poppins is tops in my books (I’m a big fan). I’m lucky, I have more time to play than most. I’m in love with that fountain! It makes you joyous just to look at it.

    • I thought it was great too! There are so many beautiful scuptures in Central Park. Mary Poppins was a big part of my childhood. I went to see it on my 8th birthday, back when movies were rare treats. I was given a record of the songs which I played endlessly on my little phonograph.

      • My husband took me to Portland for my 50th Birthday to see the stage performance of Mary Poppins…..I cried I was so happy.

        • We just recently saw the stage version, shortly after we found out about Jeff’s illness. It was a much-needed ray of sunshine during a gloomy time.

          • Hold on to the little things, for one day we may look back and think they were the big things. Robert Brault
            I wish I could offer more, thinking of you. xK

            • I love that quote; so true! There is a similar quote that I plan to use sometime in the future on this blog. You offer plenty – just having your blog to go to is great fun! Thanks so much for being here.

  6. MaryAnn

    “A happy talent”…mmmm brings to mind anytime I spent w/ Matthew, because he has the talent to surround me w/ happiness!

    • Yes, he does seem to have that effect on quite a few people! Thanks for being such a good friend to him…and to us!

  7. Kathy

    I know it’s “play” when I’m working and lose all track of time, usually immersed in a project. Sarah and her friends still know how to play; we laugh until we have tears streaming down our faces sometimes! I’m thankful to be witness to some of this light-heartedness.

    • Kathy, how would we survive without a good dose of silliness and laughter now and then? I always love it when I am so absorbed in what I’m doing that I forget everything else. I even have to be reminded to EAT sometimes, especially when I’m in an interesting location and running around making photos!


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