Leaves and Crayons

Swirling.  Blowing in the breeze, then fluttering to the ground.  The air is thick with them.  Brilliant colors as they die.  Leaves falling to the ground as the warm days of summer slip into the cooler temperatures of fall. 

Walking down the sidewalk to my office I saw it on the ground.  A scarlet red maple leaf.  All the trees are donning their fall colors.  Yellows and reds galore.  Still some green.  And others, passing straight to brown as they hang delicately, waiting for a gentle breeze to send them to the ground. 

I’ve already been raking the leaves at my house.  In my yard.  And somehow in my garage.  A beautiful sight on the trees.  A plague of locusts on the ground.  I do love the pattern the leaves from my gingko tree always seem to make at the base of the tree.  They must fall straight down, landing with a silent thud.  Always at the base of the tree and nowhere else.  This year a magnificent yellow!

The red maple leaf reminded me of how, as a child, I would preserve a single wonderful specimen.  Finding a perfect leaf, one with no rips or tears, one with eye-catching color, I would carefully put it into my shirt pocket.  No folds or creases.  I would then take it home, put it between two sheets of wax paper and iron the whole thing, sealing the leaf in a coating of wax.  The brilliant hue was slightly dimmed but not much.

Mother would oooohhh and aaaahhhh over my creations.  As mothers always do.  And the great works would lay around for several days and then, without my noticing, would disappear.  I don’ remember if I had any thoughts on this mystery.  I just made more of these natural artworks.

We did the same kind of thing with wax crayons.  Take a crayon, shave bits of wax off of it, place them between two pieces of wax paper and iron.  Viola!  Like stained glass, they were mixtures of color blobs and blurs.  We went through a lot of crayons on a rainy day.  And wax paper.  They too suffered the mysterious fate of wax paper art.

Several years ago I went to the Crayola crayon factory.  Took the kids thinking correctly that it would be a fun afternoon.  There were lots of activities, and studies in color.  Of course we saw how the crayons were made too.  Thousands of colors, billions of crayons.  Four packs, eight packs, thirty-two packs.  And of course the big box of sixty four crayons, with a sharpener built in.  Had to buy a new box of crayons every year to start the school year.  Especially after a busy summer of artistry.

Somewhere along the line it seems to me that the contents of either the wax paper or the crayons themselves changed.  The wax didn’t seem to melt as well.  The colors weren’t as fascinating.  The artworks weren’t as brilliant and cutting edge.  Maybe it was me that changed.  Or my perception, or interest, in color crayon art.  Maybe I moved on to other art disciplines.  Or should I say I added more skills and widespread interests to my repertoire. 

I’ll always remember those wax paper creations.  I don’t know if kids do those things anymore.  I don’t remember if I did them with my kids either.  I believe we did try.    It was my introduction to the fascinating world of art and imagination.  A love of color.  Experiments.  The world was full of wonder.

That’s part of my story.  What’s yours?  http://www.personalhistorywriter.com

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