This is the first time I have colored with Readers balanced on my nose.
It almost did not happen. When I read through the Wonder assignment in the Be Gentle Be Love class and came to the suggestion to color with crayons, I “saw” the picture snapshot of the wonder-filled walks Ruby and I take. I saw the wonder of walking the same street for 13 years, three with Ruby, and finding something new and enticing every single time. I saw the pinecones, gray sky suddenly cold air after startling heat. I saw what I wanted to draw but then getting the picture from my head to my fingers to the paper took longer than expected. I saw in O’Keefe clarity. I drew in Linus actuality.
I could not color at work. So I took off and headed home for an early lunch (if you happen to work with me and by some miracle you find this blog post, and read the last few words, then, um, no, I didn’t). This is the first 8-5 job I have had in about thirty years. Leaving early from work, even after these past two years of 8-5 regimen, still feels similar to an illicit snow day!
Arriving home, I walked with laser-focused attention to my clutter art desk and retrieved my sketch pad.
To my astonishment, I also had a 24-pack of unopened Crayola crayons. A slight twinge crept up to my throat when I realized they were left-over from a time when I was called “Mops” by the grandkids who visited their grandpa “Pops”, that period of time now relegated to “what was”. I paused only long enough to wish the memory well and release the energy of that dream’s potential. And another second longer to envision “this or something better” for the future.
I marveled that in a home as haphazardly stocked as mine, that there was an unopened box of new crayons. I inhabit a house where toilet paper is iffy but agave nectar is plentiful; where restocking toothpaste is forgotten but four kinds of olive oil prevail. My left-brained daughter advises a list, “always go with a list” she advises. And I dutifully comply, except that even though neat penmanship instructs “buy milk” I often return with pomegranate/blueberry cider and fiesta-print napkins.
My Wonder assignment completion was thwarted by a medical time-out taken for a broken nail on account of the broom not returning itself properly the cement cinder block, which fell in the garage narrowly missing the treadmill, freezer, and bicycle sculptured to resemble a “workout gym/spa” ala HGTV. The broom was needed to sweep the nettled mess of new spring grass, twigs, and assorted muck escaping inside to our tile kitchen floor, which I saw in full natural glory when I sat to complete the Wonder Assignment.
I stopped by the computer and checked email while filing the aforementioned nail. I also place an online order for Sundance because I still harbor the delusion that this will endear me to Robert Redford. While checking Facebook, the weather, and the actual date of Memorial Day this year, it dawned on me that I was procrastinating on completing the Wonder Assignment. Was I procrastinating on Wonder?
It was almost time to return to the office. And no Wonder was created. The crayons waited like passengers ready to board Art Express airlines. Paper almost seemed to shuffle nervously in anticipation.
But I had to go.
I scribbled something of a replication of the image anchored in my head.
But I rushed. Because I was “on to the next” as had been so frequently my life pattern.
A poem I read this morning trotted through my harried mind~~ (emphasis mine)
If your life doesn’t often make you feel
like a cauldron of swirling light
If you are not often enough a woman standing above a mysterious fire,
lifting her head to the sky
You are doing too much, and listening too little.
Read poems. Walk in the woods. Make slow art.
And so the wonder of my teacher Amanda’s inviting introspection is the realization that I have hoisted layers of effort and busyness to smother the fire, the mysterious fire ignited by wonder, and time, and attending.
I wonder, Do you also quench the fire of your wonder-filled self?
Do you throw layers of frantic busyness on embers of light-ness?
Is it time to make slow art in your life?