With the best of intentions, I have so often heard a most frightening and terrible demand, “Grow up!” And quite usually, always to children. Of all people, our children. Who need to be secure in their own adolescence before they can manifest themselves into the people they choose to become, not the people we wish them to be. Just as a flower will grow through a crack in the concrete, so do children find outlets in even the most stultifying of environments. As metaphorical as it may seem, I would forever have children be cultivated, hand in hand, with their guardians in a place that promoted the imagination and individuality so espoused by our kind, not drug on a leash down the rough pavement of indoctrination and dumped unceremoniously into a mold that conforms to another’s whims. Not my child. Not now, not ever.
An oft quoted phrase, which I wholeheartedly rebel against every day of my existence, is found in The Christian Bible, Corinthians, chapter 13, verse 11: When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” Which mirrors and reflects a great many worldviews of people around us, promoting the idea that fantasy, innocent joviality and is something for the immature and callow.
No thank you. I WILL have my cake and eat it too. I’ll read my books on philosophy, write erudite letters supporting those I admire and respect, and seek to grow with the acceptances I have come to find. But so too will I indulge in the fantastical, play silly games with my daughter, indulge in the whimsical appetites of my youth, draw terribly unartistic renditions of a puppy playing with a ball. And so what if it looks like a crippled bison kicking a rock. I’ll enjoy myself all the same.
I would now like to invite you all to participate in exercising (that would be exercise with an E, not an O) that fantastical, childhood demon which so many adults seem to sneer at in derision or simply discard. That of creativity, imagination, and the simple joy derived from both. With a twist of course. Always a twist.
So, if you will, take up your world maker, close your eyes, quiet your mind, and simply revel in the next few minutes. The paper you have in front of you will be known as, your space. Yes, I just channeled Bob Ross. No, I could not find a fitting fro-wig to complete the ensemble.
Remain silent if you please, no questions, no demands. Just how you perceive the instructions and what you wish your space to look like. Feel the edges of the drawing surface, see in your mind and visualize what you put to paper. I would like you to create, in your own way and according to your own desires and designs, the following;
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We will start with a sun, in the upper right hand corner of your space, radiant and sparkling in its illumination of your world. Some of your suns may have rays of sunlight shining forth, others will choose squiggly lines of warmth. And some may just choose to slap a smiley face on that fiery celestial orb.
However you choose to depict your sun is perfect.
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Directly below your sun at the bottom right-hand area of your space, there is a great tree, a pillar of strength and growth, with a large canopy reaching wide. Is it a rigid, arrow like conifer pointing towards the sky? Or a large bushy fellow with far reaching branches and thick leaves?
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To the left of our tree in the bottom middle region of our space, we will place three flowers side by side. Simple in design, they may all look alike or they may be different in shape, height and thickness.
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Far above our lovely flowers, at the top of our space, is a puffy Nimbus cloud nestled in the sky. A great, billowing entity with puffy cheeks. Perhaps some rain showers down upon the flowers below, or a gusty wind tickles it’s underside beneath it.
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At the upper left-hand corner of our space, now nearly complete, is our crescent moon. Fingernail thin or nearly full, the lunar sphere hangs silently in the sky.
And finally, falling below the moon are three stars, careening towards the ground. However many points and whether they fall slowly, or streak with all due haste is up to you. Simply that they seek to join with the earth is enough.
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Now, slowly and with as little judgmental anticipation as possible, open your eyes.
Take a moment and reflect upon your creation. Your world. With eyes closed and smiling faces, you drew not with your eyes but with your heart. As simple as it was, crayons and construction paper, the images, whether they are aligned and precise or messy or hither and yon, mean so much more than just color on paper.