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Currently: Outside the Lines

There are so many colors in the rainbow So many colors in the morning sun So many colors in the flower and I see every one

~ Harry Chapin, Flowers Are Red


This life is so often a race we run trying to stay within rightly ordered lines. The black and white path laid out neatly before us, with that one splash of yellow that warns us to "stay in our lanes."    Which yes! - If you are hurtling down the freeway in a tin can, please do obey that rule.

This is our normal. And "normal" is okay.   It doesn't have to be a bad word.   Yet, we have all read those quotes about journeying the "road less traveled," and exploring the woods beyond the beaten path.   Nodding our heads and dreaming of adventure that leads us past the menial and mundane task road that is our daily lives.   Even though in the day to day bustle, that ever present sense of staying the course, rises up to press upon our innate sense of freedom.   What if we let that go?

What if we not only used ALL the colours, but also drew outside the lines in those stressful times?   What is the picture that would emerge?

"Can I draw the kitty blue Mommy?

"You can colour the kitty whatever colour you want baby girl."  

"But cats are NOT blue ZooZoo!


Angel Girl interjected with a look of almost horror on her face.    She is bent over her doodle page, hair falling about her heart shaped face, brow puckered as she concentrates diligently on her picture.   The lines are precise.   Colours carefully chosen. I still recall the days I had to guess, or pretend I knew what the picture she was drawing even was!    Often I gave up and simply asked. Now it's clear.  Almost perfect. ZooZoo gives her blue kitty a polka dot tail.  8 and 6 years old. At some point in between, the journey returned to the beaten path.  Lines became important.   Matching an Art.  While ZooZoo is content to wander and scribble about the page, colours chosen on whim alone; content to let the Art design itself.   Her older sisters steps are carefully planned.

I wonder, does ZooZoo have any sense of the "whole?"   Of the final image that will emerge?  Is it tucked somewhere in the dream scape that is her young mind?   Certainly she has an idea of what she wants, and perhaps those willy nily choices are not truly so random at all.  It's the journey; not the result for ZooZoo.  Still, she will get there.  The end result is very important to Angel Girl, and the steps leading to this vision must be in line.   I look down at my own intricately coloured page.  All the pieces and parts working together towards the whole. 

Did I do that to her? It's just a doodle page.  Is it even that important?

"Flowers are red young man And green leaves are green There's no need to see flowers any other way Than they way they always have been seen"

Is this just the natural route to learning? Surely some of this is a good lesson for how we travel through this life.   At some point you have to stop dreaming of the rainbow's end.  Some days you're just happy it shines every now and then.  A bursting promise that there will always be colour in this black and white world, that has more shades of grey than ever before.

Still, I think every now and then, we should let ourselves slide down that rainbow, absorb all that colour and brightness, and let that glow burst forth from within; exploding all over the blank page before us.   Let ourselves be unwritten for awhile. A new normal.

A new picture emerges.  Where cats have polka dot tails and all the colours bleed into blurred lines.  But the picture - the Whole, that Vision: it's still very much You.  Or me.   Because it came from within.   Some place deep that didn't care what colour cats should be, or matching flowers, or symmetry within the frame.... but

... you just picked up the pencil, and left your mark.

I close my eyes and select a coloured pencil.   It won't match the colour of the flowers I have already drawn on the other side of the page.  Even though they are clearly the same bloom, drawn with exact lines.   Angel Girl looks up from her picture.   She sees. 

"I like that colour Mommy!!  Which one is that?"

I hand her "Coral Reef" and smile at her look of pleasure.  So simple a thing. She takes the pencil and begins to draw free hand her own flowers randomly over her page.   Outside the lines and imperfectly matched; but perfectly and purely HER.

Now, that WAS me.



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McGuffy's Reader
McGuffy's Reader
Feb 14, 2018

There are so many colours and the shades are endless. I think this is because each of us are so complex.Nothing, no one is black and white, or even shades of grey. We are meant to experiment, to find our own lines. How we colour them in, how we choose our borders, will shape who we are and who we become. I have no doubt that you will help Angel Girl and ZooZoo realize that within themselves, as well as to the world. Hugs.

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