A Common Word, Reconsidered

I'm walking down a sleepy street on a bright afternoon when I see the sign. 

"Recreation," it says. Underneath that, there are events and times listed. But for some reason, the word "recreation" pops out at me. 

This is not a million dollar word. I've known it, used it, never thought about it, for decades. 

But on that sleepy street in the bright afternoon light, I saw for the first time that it's really just re-create. Then I get curious about where the word comes from. 

So, I pause on the sidewalk, take out my phone, and look up recreation's etymology. It comes from the Latin recreare, meaning to create again, renew. Which, for me, means we re-create, renew ourselves. 

And that's such an important and uncelebrated act, isn't it? Recreating ourselves after the wear and tear of a long day, renewing our depleted self following a demanding moment. 

We need food, water, air, each other. But we need recreation, too. Without those pauses to restore ourselves or return to ourselves, who do we become?

I'm not sure. But not more human. 

I'd always thought of recreation as kids' soccer leagues, a community pool, fun runs. It can be all that. But on that quiet street, what I'm learning is that it's bigger and larger than just that. 

It's anything that restores our energy, spirits, sense of self. Naps, good books, lazy walks, deep breaths, closing the computer, flipping the phone down and taking a moment to watch the world turn. 

So may we get the food, water, air, company we need. And may we get the recreation we need, too. 

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