I haven’t done this in a long time. Maybe I’ve forgotten the rules. No written words to go by. I pull the slips of paper out of their tiny painted box and feel my fingertips prickle with the familiar nip of resurrected nostalgia this little plaything brings me.
Not many people have played this game, because I made it up, and its only rules are the ones that feel their way into being as we play it. The playing board is fashioned from tattered handkerchiefsilk and cardstock, and it lives most of the time with a palmful of tiny blue musselshells, some hemlock twigs, three bits of scarlet ribbon, and the backbones of leaves.
This game is a theater of exploration and restoration, a tiny stage of reverent discovery.
It works best if you forget most of what you know about how to find things. No passwords, no strictures against revealing sacred clues.
You can say anything now.
When I built this game I used some marbles and some acorns and some clear glass beads as playing pieces, and then a little green toy mouse with a German name, and then an old Christmas tree decoration, a tiny globe of opalescent glass attached shakily to a strand of wire. A sphere of eggshell thinness like the blessing of a moth’s breath.
You can’t lose this game and you certainly can’t win.
It’s best if you play with someone who likes to laugh and who appreciates nonsense but who also loves the holiness of thimbles and thick smudgy stubs of carpenters’ pencil.
This game is like coming home to me, like being led through a cool oldgrowth forest by the hand, a blindfold of desert sage and rosemary nudging me (and you) into a place of total trust and abandonment of anything but the now.
Come play with me if you will.
Surrender to the foolish joy I offer you
and know you’re home.
©Laura Sorrells 2012
all rights reserved
I rewrote this just now; when I originally wrote it in 2007 it was a response to a website writing prompt about creating a game. I have no idea where it came from either time.