Monday, July 19, 2010

art and the 1st grade... and other things

My part time job this summer is teaching art to first graders who are in summer school. It's a hook to try to keep them interested in coming day after day. Some of these kids probably aren't getting half of what we talk about, but they seem to be enjoying themselves, and in the long run, I'd rather be a positive art experience than the person that ruined it for them. Today we played with tempra paint and mixed colors together. Some kids had some pretty impressive colors mixed together, some went along kicking and screaming until they folded their papers in half, wailing that they had "made a mistake" and wanted a new paper and I unfolded their page and showed them the mirror images they created... and they were hooked. We painted pictures of bananas, oranges and eggplant - not something you would think of a 1st grader painting, but considering that circles closer to the size of grapes are currently beyond their motor skill level, we went for eggplant, fine examples of aubergine. Now I'm drooling - I had eggplant in garlic sauce for lunch and it was amazing.

I'm listening to Pandora on my iPod right now, and there are bits and pieces of music playing, then silence, then a phrase, then silence. I feel like I'm listening for music. There will be moments of clarity, when I can hear it and I think, you know, this sounds beautiful/moving/etc and I think in that moment that I : get it, can see the bigger picture, etc : and then the [proverbial] music stops and I'm left in the silence, wondering. Waiting. Looking around and thinking why did it go away? Why have I lost it? Is it going to come back? I think to myself, what if I had heard more of the phrase earlier in my life, would I have taken the path I did, made the decisions I did? There are some things I simply couldn't have known were coming, and other things I should have seen coming, and made preparations for.

I'm where I am now. The only thing I can change is the direction I am going, and not think of it as back tracking or correcting mistakes. What about the things I did? Would I have not done them? Visit Europe? Taken that internship? Signed up for Wood Furniture? Taken the job that made me move away from home? Section hiked the Appalachian Trail? No, I'm glad I did these things. But sometimes I can't help thinking I could have been a lot more organized about life. But I was not thinking forward. I was not looking at the road ahead, and the bend coming, but at the rock formation to the left, the clouds sailing above, the pasture, the forest, the things on the side of the road, not necessarily distractions, but things that certainly had me completely captivated.

I'm like the kid that was sent to summer school. That got held back in Kindergarten because I needed time to "get the play out" - mature emotionally. Gain life experience. But I pray to God that when it comes time to retire, I have the ability to do so, because I've ... not wasted time, none of this time was wastecd in trying to find a stable career, but it sure feels like that sometimes.