Crayons, Coloring Books, and Maps

It’s no problem to figure out the link between crayons and coloring books, but how do maps fit in?

“My father would call what I was doing ‘coloring maps.’ That was what he called it when I filled in time and wasted effort, in his view, by taking lots of trouble to do something wholly unessential, as when I had colored maps in high school for geography, feathering blue round the shorelines and shading in valleys and hills. But he always said it fondly, as though he knew and understood that there were times when what the brain most needed was to simply color maps.”

This passage from the book I am reading now, The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley came at me like a Mac truck in heat, finally legitimizing the box of Crayolas, 64 count no less, I’ve been harboring for the last year. Summer in my childhood was coloring time. I used to sit on the front lawn, under the shady elm tree, coloring book in my lap, crayons in my stubby-little fingers. I remember how my mind would get lost in the colors in the box and the need to pick out the absolutely perfect ones, the challenge of ‘staying in the lines’ (I was never as good as Stacy Fidler at that), and  the pride engendered by the finished product.

Coloring like that was a process that was pure Zen. I lost myself, totally. I stuck my tongue out, unconsciously, I hummed nursery rhymes, unintentionally. Coloring was about being and it was really cool and vibrant!

My 62-count box of Crayolas is now anxious to be dusted off, opened, and used. Or, shall I say, my brain is anxious for me to dust off my 62-count, find a map, and start coloring.

Anyone care to join me?


An author, a teacher, a candlestick maker? I am lucky enough to have followed my muse through a most eclectic life of many careers, many interests, and many friends and liasions. Two beautiful children, now grown and one their own, several books -- the penultimate accomplishment dream come true, a hores trainer, a college professor, and a stint in corporate America to validate my feelings that I never, ever want to go there again. So I donned my ruby slippers and dared to take those different paths, those diverging paths, and that has made all the difference! (Thank you, Robert!)

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