The Colours of Our World
She painted the sky purple and the grass red. The flowers were streaks of pink on black; the house was crooked and orange with bright green swirls of smoke coming from the slanted chimney. The sun was a bright yellow circle with a smiling face painted in it, and the stick figures were dancing around the fanciful garden.
When the teacher bent to tell her that the grass should be green, the sky blue, and that the sun didn’t really have a face, the little girl looked at her and said, “Why not?” Being a grownup who believed in remaining firmly planted in reality, the teacher sputtered, “Because! That is how it really is!”
The little girl smiled winsomely at her teacher, and with all the wisdom of a five year old said, “Only if your old,” and happily applied another coat of purple to her sky. As she freely expressed her delight in the colours of her world, the little girl was teaching a lesson that would do all of us “grownups” good.
Sure, we all know reality. We are familiar with every shade of grass and sky. We have all the facts, figures, and knowledge accumulated through our lives. We are experts. In lock step, we move along our tunnel vision lives leaving behind the images of imagination to focus on the business of life. We base our very lives in the context of what is real. Or is it?
When was the last time you danced for the sheer joy of it? When was the last time you sang in the shower, or ate Jell-O out of the bowl straight from the refrigerator? When was the last time you took time to feel the texture of your favourite old sweater with your fingertips while your eyes were closed? When was the last time you caught rain drops on your tongue, or splashed in a mud puddle, or allowed yourself to be soaked to the skin in a sudden rain storm? How long ago was it that you last marched along humming a rousing rendition of a patriotic song? When did you stop seeing the magic in your life?
When we stop dreaming, when we stop seeing purple skies and red grass, when we stop yearning for magic in our lives – and finding it – when we forget that reality is what we make it, then we have forgotten the colours of our world.
30 July, 2002