Today was a wide awake, wake-up day. They’re the best, and they don’t happen very often. I am not a morning person, and I love the luxury of a long, lingering lounge in bed after awaking, maybe even with a few extra dozings. But sometimes there are days like today when the sun tilts into my bedroom window, the air feels filled with promise, birds are singing, beckoning, and I am fully awake. Who cares if it's 10 degrees outside? What I most want to do is to get up and meet the day.
That reminds me. I’ve been meaning to write about a game called “The Best Thing.” If you’re with a group and don’t have board games available, all you need are paper and pencils. Everyone writes 4-5 things on separate scraps of paper. Each entry must fit the description of something you’d call “the best!” Coffee is the best! A comfortable old cashmere sweater is the best! Ben and Jerry’s Oat of This Swirled ice cream, a baby sleeping on your chest, a dog’s velvety ears, or a sunny morning when you awaken with all your being in synch with the sunshine.
To play, everyone throws their folded papers into a bowl, then you mix them up and pull them out, two by two. Each random pairing goes into the outermost tier of a tourney bracket. Your outer tier can be sixteen or thirty-two or sixty-four, depending on how much time you want this game to take. The “competition” consists of your group voting on the winner of each paired match-up.
Which is best – fresh spring strawberries off the vine, or a big tax refund? In order to “win” and move on to the next level of the bracket, you have to gain consensus (some say unanimity, but that would be a game-ender in an opinionated group). Your tournament will lead you to the elite 8, the final four, the championship contenders, and one final winner.
It is an excellent game for a dreary winter weekend. You can leave the game and come back to it, it’s more collaborative than competitive (though persuasiveness can be an asset, “Come on! Can’t you just smell that bacon sizzling?” “Yes, but coffee is there for you every day.”), and it focuses everyone on all those things in life that make us happy. We need more of that.
Speaking of the best thing, one of my favorites is this picture of my granddaughter in pink tulle by the sea. It speaks volumes to me about independence, discovery, fresh air, forward movement, possibility, timelessness, femininity and power. It is the best!
Think about it.
Robin Clifford Wood is a writer and writing teacher. She lives in central Maine with her husband and dogs, loves to be outdoors, and enjoys ever-expanding horizons through her grown children and their multi-species families.