Monday, May 14, 2012

The World Turned Upside Down

Do you remember ever standing on your head when you were a little kid? I do. I would put a pillow from the couch on the floor, right up agains the wall (because I never could do a proper cushion-less handstand), then place my head on it and flip my feet up onto the wall above me. All at once the floor was above me and the ceiling below, and the couch and table and my mother and everything else were hanging upside down. What an interesting perspective! Just a little gymnastic work and I could turn the whole world on its head.

Zoom ahead a dozen years or so. A few days ago I went out for a walk with my five year old brother and the dog. The day was cool and breezy, but the sky was still blue and bright, touched here and there with a few gentle clouds. We followed Nathan's directions (my brother, not the dog) as we wound our way in and out of the hilly little streets of our hilly little neighborhood. "Which way should we go, Nathan?" "That way!" "Now which way?" "This way!" Eventually we ended down at the park, where Nathan declared we would stay for "six minutes." I tied up the dog and we went to the set to play.

We started out being pirates, but eventually Nathan wanted to be a monkey on the monkey bars, so we did that for a while - I being the ground level spotter so that the sister monkey didn't have to turn into the family practitioner. When Nathan's hands got tired of being a monkey, we moved on to a set of side-by-side uneven bars. I tried to get Nathan to hang upside down, but he chickened out and fell into my waiting arms. I remembered exactly how to do it from the days when school came with pre-planned playtime, so when Nathan moved on to bigger and better things I tried it myself. I grabbed the bar, walked my feet up one of the vertical pylons, tucked my legs over the bar between my hands, and let go.

The world twisted around and suddenly everything was different. All at once the ground was over my head and the mountains were hanging peaks down from the valley floor. I looked down - or sort of up - and saw my feet dangling over an endless expanse of blue sky. I reached my hands toward the playground sand and planted them there. It felt like I was holding on for dear life to a secure and grounded ceiling to keep from falling into the ocean of blue. All of Heber was on level with my head, and I could see all the way to a flipped Provo Canyon and an upside down Deer Creek. It was singularly interesting just to sit there (even with the blood rushing to my head) and see the world a little differently than I did before.

Eventually I flipped back down and got my bearings. Sand underneath, sky up above, wind in the middle. Perfectly back to normal. After a moment of looking, though, I went straight back to the bar and turned upside down again. Normal is nice sometimes, but abnormal was way too much fun.

The moral of the story? When life gets hard or humdrum or boring or lonely or sad, try turning it on its head - either literally or figuratively, you choose. Kids know the truth that grownups tend to forget - that there's a lifetime of discoveries to make (and a whole lot of fun to boot) by turning the world upside down.

I'll post again soon, I promise! 'Til next time...

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