40. GIRL PLAYING
COMFORT AND JOY
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The Girl wears an orange sweatsuit and reclines on pillows on the floor. The too-serious child of #31 has now matured and made friends with the cougar, and they cuddle affectionately. It is just the two of them in a closed room; they need nothing else at the moment.
“Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal.”
These words from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem “Psalm of Life” have been with me for sixty years. They have played an important role in my life, as have Socrates’ words, “An unexamined life is a life not worth living.” And finally, “A schedule broken at will becomes a mere procession of vagaries,” spoken by Rex Stout’s famous detective, Nero Wolfe, have been words to live by.
But there is a softer side to one’s nature that needs expression now and then. We need to give and receive affection, to enjoy comfort, to relax, to play . . . perhaps to become young again, if only for a little while. Then we can return to our striving with renewed strength and determination--until the next little holiday.