Thursday, July 26, 2012

Colors {A Bigger Picture Moment}

At the bottom of the bag, next to a package of number two pencils and wooden rulers, there are two boxes of crayons.  If I close my eyes, I can smell the waxy-paint scent and hear the schuck-a-schuck-a of a little girl filling paper with color. 

Always, always, when there are new crayons, there is joy.  I wonder at the simplicity of it -- they cost less than a candy bar, less than a picture book, less than almost anything I can think of.  But they are coveted and treasured.  In approximately eight days, we will add their broken, shredded, rounded bits to our collection of old crayons, but in the beginning, it's just joy. 

And I know that when I dig these boxes out of the bag to present them to Mia and Lauren, their smiles and squeals and leaps will make me laugh.  Mia will arrange hers in a row of rainbow perfection, and Lauren will try each one, testing shades for accuracy.

The day will be won. 

With some crayons. 


When everything flies past like it does -- all wings and pressure and streams of air -- I stop seeing the colors.  Or the delineations between ordinary and amazing.  And right now, with the boxes to be packed and the dishes to be wrapped, the cabinets to be emptied and the children to be kept busy, those air streams are like grey water, rushing.

Everything is a blurry monotone.  I wouldn't know a simple moment if it curled itself around my ankles and held on tight.  I just keep moving through it, sightless and numb; there is work to be done.


The girls are at the kitchen table, coloring pictures with Justin -- a seahorse and a new house -- and I'm scattering myself across the house.  Doing a bit of a task here, an edge of a thing there.  I see a bag of trash, scavenged from toy boxes and drawers and corners, and I heft it under my arm.  I'll throw it out while it's on my mind.

Outside, the heat blankets me.  It clings with desperation, needing to be appreciated.  So I try.  I throw the trash bag into the bin, stand back, and breathe deeply.  The grass is spiked and crisp -- so very dead, irrevocably so -- and there isn't even a hint of breeze to disturb the air.  But coming from the air-conditioned coolness of indoors, the hot evening is growing on me.  Heavy and insistent.

Above, pink cotton-ball clouds fill the pale blue sky.  Everything is glowing pastel.  A cottonwood tree in the valley is taller than the rest, brushing its green across the canvas as a paintbrush, reaching.  And in the middle of it all, a white fingernail of moon is ready to rule the coming night.

I cannot move, for the colorful beauty of the world. 

So here I am, standing beside an overfull trash bin, next to a house I'm leaving, on dead and cracked earth, in the still, hot air.

And I finally have hold of it, for a small second of recognition:

I see the colors.  I inhale them.  Let them rub against my skin in place of a stirred breeze. 

This is my new box of crayons, simple and free and so very common.

Every Thursday, we come together to share the harvest of intentional living by capturing a glimpse of the Bigger Picture through a simple moment. Join the Bigger Picture Community at Alita's place today! Reflect upon something simple — or simply magical — that’s resonated with you this week, then share it with us!


  1. This is magnificent. From the first image to the last line.

    And...I have moved my family 13 times in 28 years (a story for another time)...but EVERY the midst of all the fatigue and chaos and boxes I am profoundly moved by the assurance that the only thing that matters is that my husband and kids are I are all moving TOGETHER! The rest is just busy work. Praying for you!

    1. THIRTEEN TIMES?!? Oh, honey. You are a champ!

      And I guess I don't even mind the busy work; it's kind of organizational in nature, so it pleases my inner weirdo. It's everything else logistical about the actual, physical move. Thank goodness my husband has muscles, though ;)

  2. Oh lady, inhale those colors and marvel at the fresh boxes of crayons in these crazy days :) Lovely, lovely writing.

    1. Thank you, Corinne! I'm doing my best :)

  3. such a beautiful post! you are moving? out of missouri? :/

    1. Oh, no -- we're just moving across town. Can you imagine the freaking out I'd be doing if this were an interstate move? Gah!

  4. This hit me so hard. We moved seven months ago, and I was so caught up in the process and the stress that I missed out on a lot of the excitement and joy. Glad you had that moment. Oh, what a deep breath in the midst of chaos can do for the soul!

    1. See, that's what I hope to avoid. I do it to myself ALL the time: stress and manage and get by without absorbing the memory of the thing. I hope this one breath will sustain my calm :)

  5. Oh, yes. When the rush of life overtakes us and the moments are lost ... and then lo and behold that new box of crayons comes into sight. Gorgeous writing, as always, Sarah. Hope you get many more breathful moments.

  6. Beautiful! Thank you for letting me see and smell the colors right there with you - as well as that fantastic image of a white fingernail of moon, and the emptiness, inward and outward, of desiccation, the dry bones of a home left behind. (And great onomatopoeia too!)

  7. Good luck on your move [sounds heavenly :) to be forced to clear out the no-longer-useful]
    As for crayons...
    I just sent a new box and coloring book to my daughter who is working in Oregon.
    Somethings have no time limit, and a new box of crayons is one of those things.
    p.s. She loved them!

  8. the day will be won - love it! enjoy!!!

  9. I've been thinking of you a lot lately with the upcoming move. We are house hunting right now and I'm hoping that when the time comes I can be like you and pause for minute to see the colors. Good luck with everything. :-)


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