The young lions move lazily in the afternoon heat. After an active morning running, chasing and playing, they bump and bumble, stumbling over heavy feet.
They gather together, lowering their bodies to the ground, pushing against each other as they stretch to find a comfortable position. Gradually, the wriggling and shuffling stops, muscles relax, breathing slows and a hush descends.
Here and there an unexpected movement - a stretching leg, a twitching nose, an eye slowly opening to scan the group for signs of restlessness before lazily drifting closed once more.
A lone fly drifts through the still afternoon air, breaking the silence with its droning zzzz-zzzz and causing muscles to flinch in irritation as it tries to settle on an ear or neck or shoulder.
The lions rest.
A sudden movement. A body springs upright from amidst the dozIng crowd. Startled, some eyes pop open to observe the fuss more closely while others snuggle more deeply into their sleepy haze.
'How much longer will we play this game, Miss Harrison? I need to go to the toilet!'
The silence is broken, heads lift, eyes open, fingers wriggle. Little girls giggle and boys laugh out loud. One or two bodies remain curled up in blissful slumber until bumped by their companions. Noise and activity and energy return and the 'sleeping lions' are nowhere to be seen… until kindergarten nap time tomorrow.
Susan Whelan is a freelance writer and enthusiastic reader. She dreams of being a published children's non-fiction author and thinks that Sleeping Lions is quite possibly the most brilliant quiet time game ever invented. You can find out more about Susan at her blog, Reading Upside Down.
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