day 21 – let your light shine

Playing with children is about recognising playpotential (new word) in the everyday. Take light, for instance. Light enters your home in different ways at different times of the day and in different seasons. This produces magical effects and impromptu science lessons, even a little Googling, since most of us aren’t physicists. But take the opportunity to feed your kids’ imaginations too. Here’s what happens at our house.

The north windows in the kitchen have red and blue panes. On autumn mornings, when the sun drops lower in its circuit of the sky, light streams through these coloured panes. The result is red and blue puddles on the pine floor. Kids are always excited to encounter these and will spend a few minutes playing in the colour. In a world of ‘instant’ and ‘anytime’ the longed for and the ephemeral are pretty special.

Also in autumn, but much later in the day, the sun hits a shallow dish lined with minute mirror tiles. For just a few minutes, a ray of light bounces from each of these tiny mirrors up onto the ceiling and high on the walls in a dazzling spectacle that we pronounce are actual fairies. Wriggle the dish and they dance all over the place. (Never say there’s no such thing as fairies because if you do that somewhere a fairy falls down DEAD).

Then, also in the kitchen in the morning, according to no rhythm we can identify, a rainbow falls across the table. The panes on the east side are bevelled, forming a kind of prism through which light rays pass. Place a sheet of paper beneath it and it’s even more brilliant. Did you know you can scoop up a handful of rainbow and stuff it quickly in your pocket for later? Catch falling stars that way too – save them for a rainy day. Then there are shadows . . . but that’s a subject for other posts. What does light get up to at your place?  

Published by Dr Toni Risson

Dr Toni Risson is a storyteller and a cultural historian who has penned everything from children’s picture books to a PhD on the Magic of Lollies. An expert on the Greek cafe phenomenon, Toni curated Meet Me at the Paragon for the State Library of Queensland, and her latest book, Brisbane’s Greek Cafes: A Million Malted Milks, was a finalist in the 2019 Queensland Literary Awards. Having encountered the elegant Paragon Cafe in Katoomba as a child, Toni developed a fascination with silky oak panelling, bevelled mirrors and Art Deco wall lights long before she understood the stories behind Australia's iconic Greek cafe. She continues to document our lost café culture.

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