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Monday, April 4, 2016

Oh, the Possibilities

Remember back to grade school, that first day, when you were handed your very own box of crayons. The smell of colored wax. The feel of the lid sliding off. The beautiful, perfect cone-shaped tips of those crayons just begging to be used. The vibrant colors just waiting for paper.

I got a big box of 64 crayons for Christmas one year. I think I was six or seven at the time. I was beyond thrilled. I spent hours playing with them, sorting them into rainbows, wearing those pointed ends down into rounded nubs. I have no idea what I colored or drew with them, just that I loved watching smears of color follow the crayon across the paper. I loved experimenting to see what shades I could get, what would happen if I colored over the top of a different color, or how different paper affected the crayon.

Where did that joy go? When did I decide I had to do it "right"? When did the joy of coloring turn into drudgery?

The other day my daughter was home sick from school. She begged me to sit on the couch and watch tv with her and how can you say no to that? So I did. But watching tv for hours gets boring so I do other things while I watch. My daughter has picked up that habit. She nests on the couch surrounded by projects. We crocheted for a while. Then she pulled out her colored pencils and I ran across this link for mandalas to color (scroll to the end of the post - you can choose to either download the mandalas by themselves, which is what we did, or download them as part of a calendar). I printed them out and showed them to her. Her eyes lit up. She fetched her crayons and markers to go with the colored pencils. We spent most of an hour coloring.

And I enjoyed it. I wasn't worried about staying inside the lines, not too much, or making the colors match or what I was going to do with it when I finished or what someone else might think of it. I just relaxed and colored. And it was fun. My daughter announced she wanted to tape them to her ceiling when they were done. I told her it sounded like a great idea. I haven't colored anything like that in years. I wish I had.

The mandalas aren't perfectly symmetrical and geometric. They are hand-drawn and things aren't exactly the same in each section but that's part of their charm. My crayons were always thin enough to color inside the lines, but that's also part of the charm.

I think I'm going to put this on my list of things to do at least once a month - color a picture. And do it like a little kid. I'm not going to worry about staying inside the lines or using the "right" colors. I'm going to experiment and play around and relax. And when I'm done, I might tape it to my ceiling or post it to my fridge to enjoy for a while.