Puddles and kids go well together. Jumping, skipping, and splashing in puddles is a child’s domain. Kids seek them out, take a running start and feel the sensual pleasure of them, splashing for the sheer glee of it. Do you remember when it was such fun to stomp on water and watch it disperse in twenty directions – the clouds’ gift to the earth? When I was a child, my mother would dress us up in coats and boots and send us outside to play. I loved rainy days, splashing in puddles feeling the cool wetness and muddy splatterings on my calves, opening my mouth to the sky to catch fresh drops of water (that was before acid rain, of course). Carefree, playful, magical!
Adults don’t splash in puddles. We jump over them. We protect ourselves from the shock of wetness. When did we stop enjoying puddles? At what age did we discern that puddles were just too messy and that keeping clean and dry was more important than the joy of experimentation? Of course, a car splashing muddy water as we are walking on the sidewalk is something different. That is definitely not fun!
We adults need to jump in puddles in an existential and spiritual sense savoring the joy of sensual pleasure. Sometimes we need to give voice to our childish curiosity and mettle without consulting our minds first. One of the greetings in Chinese is translated as, “Is the child in you alive?” We can have it all—serious contemplation, growth, lightheartedness, commitment and levity. There is a place for childish curiosity along side mature responsibility. It might be even more important to retrieve that side of us as adults than when it came naturally as children.