Thursday, June 21, 2007

Drawing for Fun

Speaking of fun – I've been drawing again, or at least, thinking about drawing.
I'm so bad at it, but it's so fun!
I love color, and line, and image. From the time Mrs. Rickey began sharing “The Great Artists” with our second grade class, I've admired what artists can communicate.
I just seem to be artistically inarticulate.
Throughout grade school someone – I think it was the local American Legion – sponsored a “Poppy Poster” contest. We were supposed to create a poster explaining and celebrating the poppies of Flanders Field, and what they said about the sacrifices of our veterans.
Every year I thought a lot about what I wanted my poster to 'say' and how to express that thought. I tried to draw neatly and realistically, but somehow I always seemed to misjudge the size of my poster board, or create unattractively crooked lettering; my posters always looked, well, pathetic.
Every year my friend Millie won.
She was a natural artist with a great eye for perspective and a lot of good ideas. She deserved to win, and I was glad for her – kind of! I was also jealous and worried about why I couldn't ever draw anything or do things well.
A few years ago, though, I wanted to try a nature journal. Ignoring that persistent voice that said “but you can't draw anything” I tried looking at objects as a collection of lines and shading. It helped – sort of! I was able to draw objects that were almost recognizable. Some of them even had helpful detail so I could remember later on just what it was I had drawn.
Pushing down my Poppy Poster memories, I've drawn and sketched a little bit from time to time, and every time I'm so excited when something comes out reasonably well (my standards aren't too high.)
I've learned I like to play with pastel crayons and charcoal pencils, or even just sketch something out with a pen when I'm on the phone. None of it is “good” in a traditional artistic sense, but what's good about it is the kick I get from trying, from just having fun with it.
Maybe that's the true meaning of play – just trying; just having fun, no matter how it turns out.
Which brings up those piano “lessons” . . .

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Spring seems to have fled.
These warm and warmer days have crowded it out; corn shoots up in the fields, and already a dry, dusty film covers grass and shrubs.
Cicadas drone in wooded areas, though we don't hear them much in town yet. We are almost at the longest day of the year, and it makes me sad to think of days shortened even by a few minutes, already.
We could use a bit of rain, to wash things off and wet them down. In the afternoons the corn leaves curl up ever so slightly, and each evening stays warmer than the last. Soon we'll have used up the cool air in the basement; the humidity will make it as sticky and uncomfortable as the air outside.
It's the kind of weather that makes me want to go to the swimming pool, to play corner tag and practice diving; I want to lounge on the screened in porch with a long romantic book and read all afternoon; I want to sip sweet tea and visit with friends in the back yard after a light summer supper of tomatoes and sweet corn.
I don't do those things, mostly, because I have responsibilities, duties, chores.
I don't do those things, mostly, because I've grown up and it seems wrong, somehow, to spend the whole day playing.
I don't do those things, mostly, because I've forgotten just how much fun summer can be . . .

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

First Light

First light in spring is one of my favorite things.
Here in the midwest, in May and June first light makes waking up more of a pleasure than almost any other time of year.
The song sparrow in our pine tree seems to sing the light into our window; he is the first one awake, and must take joy in waking up the rest of the world.
What could be better than waking to music like that?
The light seems shy at first, but gathers strength quickly, boldly overtaking the corners of our bedroom, insistently calling us out of bed. We respond with more enthusiasm, perhaps, than we do when winter's later light takes its time in coming.
First light in the spring calls us, calls us to get up, hurry up, come see what is new in the garden, in the yard, in the creek – roses budding? buttercups in the grass? baby ducks taking an early morning swimming lesson?
What was the real first light – the light God called into being with a word – like?
Did it wake up excitement in Him? Did He savor it awhile, or did it call Him to hurry up and create something else? Did that first light shine with possibility, too?
Lying in bed, watching first light move across the curtain, then the ceiling, I wonder about that other first light, and the One who created them both, and my heart sings along with the song sparrow.