Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Coloring the Rainbow

I've always loved Harry Chapin's "Flowers Are Red" as a comment on our educational system. The young boy starts school coloring believing

"There are so many colors in the rainbow
So many colors in the morning sun
So many colors in the flower and I see every one"

only to be told by his teacher 

"Flowers are red, young man
And green leaves are green
There's no need to see flowers any other way
Than they way they always have been seen"

Eventually the young boy adopts the party line after which he no longer uses the many colors of the rainbow, at least not for flowers.

I had a love-hate relationship with coloring and coloring books as a child. I remember finding it hard to stay within the lines even when they were lines I'd drawn myself. And having been a bit brainwashed myself, I looked at the neat, within-the-line coloring of other kids and thought how much better it looked than mine. I have no idea if that is what others thought, but it was easy enough for me to believe.

Coloring books are back and one of the new "in" things for adults. Supposedly meditative and calming, they're touted as a stress-reduction tool. I recently received a coloring book of mandala designs for my birthday and can say that there really is a meditative element to it as long as I make a concerted effort to stay within the lines. It takes concentration which makes other, unnecessary thoughts vanish into the ether at least for the time I am coloring. I should perhaps try color on a regular basis, especially since I've gotten better at staying within the lines.