Draw a Memory

I’ve been in the mood to draw the last couple of days. Which is why I was delighted to select the Inspiration Starter that I did today. More than just an invitation to draw, this slip of paper instructed me to Draw a memory. Immediately a fond memory from my early childhood came to mind.

I was ready to sketch.

I looked through an old photo album, for a photographic representation of my memory. I found it. The black and white photo captures my four year old self perched atop a clothesline pole in the backyard of my childhood home.

I was a climber as a child. By age four I was climbing furniture, shimmying up poles, scampering up trees and sitting on rooftops, the tiny queen of my world.

The photographer, probably my mom, lopped off the top of my face and head in the picture. However, there’s a hint of a smile on my lower face and the relaxed pose of my body suggests this was not the first time I had scaled the clothesline pole.

This memory makes me smile, more than half a century later. Using the the photo as a guide, I sketched out this fun recollection.

As I drew, this memory expanded to include my penchant for climbing tall objects, and also disappearing into closets, crawling beneath beds, and sitting in the middle of a neighborhood field, completely hidden by tall grasses that rippled in the breeze. Beneath all of these activities was an inborn desire to seek out solitude.

I had a bedroom of my own. But I was easily found there. Hiding from view, even in a simple and obvious place like beneath the bed, provided solitude for a time and space to fire up my imagination. The neighborhood kids weren’t as adventurous about sitting on rooftops or climbing to the uppermost branches in a tall tree. So these places gave me privacy and a different perspective.

Sometimes I’ve looked back at my childhood and thought, What a strange and quirky kid I was. Today, I looked at my finished drawing with a smile and the shine of tears in my eyes. I remembered that kid and thought, I love that spirited girl. She wasn’t afraid to be herself, and seek out places to think and dream and study the clouds and the stars.

In embracing her, I embrace some of the best and most courageous parts of myself. And I engage that fun, creative side of me that has reappeared these last few years and grown. What gifts that wee girl has given to me.

Thanks, kid. I am grateful.

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