Monday, January 11, 2010

color me content

I have always been a fan of coloring. Coloring as in crayons and coloring books and rainy days and quiet times. I remember settling at the coffee table with mom, each of us working silently on a masterpiece, or sitting in my grandma's kitchen, finishing page after page while she peeled potatoes for dinner. Everything about the activity whispered pleasure & peace, and I clung to it with a deep serenity that rivals most religious rituals. (I still do).

I can't recall being formally introduced to coloring - it was just something I did, mainly when I was too tired to read but not interested in TV, or when I was home sick. I was elated when Coloring was allowed, and sometimes even encouraged, at school; I was shocked to find out my friends were not nearly as excited about the prospect of Coloring when they came over to play. What kind of person didn't quiver at that thick smell of crayons, delight in the sound of them jumbling together in an old coffee can, take pleasure in selecting just the right hue for each tiny detail on the page? Signing one's name and dating the picture upon completion??

I have ribbons (some blue) from the Island County Fair for my carefully colored & ripped out entries. And many a Mother's Day card was really a coloring book page with a greeting scrawled in pretend cursive.

My collection of coloring books has ranged from popular dime store issues (Barbie and Peanuts) to the more coveted Mrs. Beasley (with paper doll!) and vintage Disneyland souvenirs. [I still have all of these, except for Barbie; she started to get on my nerves.] In college, I proudly purchased new ones for myself and turned to them when Life was too noisy and difficult. And I knew certainly I'd chosen wisely when husband-to-be Stu bought me a set of Suzy's Zoo Christmas coloring books.

I colored voraciously while pregnant; it was satisfyingly artistic but required little energy. My books are now filled with the inspired work of my sister, my cousins, and my own kids as well as babysitters they've had. It took a little letting go of my OCD everypicturemustbeperfectlythewayI'veenvisioned but once I did, my heart swelled to watch others settle in at the table, can full of crayons at the ready, and thoughtfully begin their journey to a quiet bliss of their own.