At my desk in front of me is a never been used, fresh box of 64 different brilliant non-toxic Crayola Crayons with the built-in sharpener. I store them in my equally brilliant Crayola crayon box that has pictures of happy animated smiling crayons on the cover and a white rectangle name-tag space that says THIS BOX BELONGS TO: and I scrawled my name in permanent marker- Wendi.
That box of crayons is mine and I’m not sharing.
Oh…by the way…hidden in my closet where none of my kids can find it, I also have the eight Crayola color crayons that were retired in 1990 and are in the Collector’s Colors Limited Edition Collection. I’m not sharing them either.
This drives my kids crazy. (Well, my oldest two are used to me by now, but the youngest two have a ways to go) They are still of the belief that the minute you get a new box of crayons you should color with them until you have worn down all of the sharp uniform points and then run them through that tempting built-in sharpener ripping off the little bits of paper as you go until all of the crayons are short, naked, broken, discarded and none of the colors in the four cardboard boxes match up anymore or have any rhyme or reason to them and the box itself looks as if it has been flung on to a battlefield and lost.
Desecration of the crayon boxes happens all over the world. It is particularly rampant in September when less then reverent children get their new fresh crayon boxes to go back to school with all of their other school supplies. For one or two glorious giddy days, they fawn over their new prized possessions as if school supplies held the keys to all knowledge of mankind. Then, before the first homework assignments have been handed out, the shiny glow has worn off and the supplies, the markers, colored pencils and the forgotten crayons have been flung to the bottom of the desks and lockers to become part of the dreaded nightmare that is their education. It’s just all part of the stuff.
I was NOT that child.
The smell of a fresh box of crayons was and still is like the greasepaint for an actor on stage. The hope of 64 Crayola possibilities and the endless combinations and dreams that imagination could create was a fire ignited that raged with enthusiasm through out my entire being. It was the beginning of a spark that spread into a love of discovery and wonder and took in all that I learned to associate with school.
I loved school.
I loved September because September meant going to school. Not back to school. I never thought of it as going back to school. In my mind, it was moving forward in school. Advancing on a path to the next great adventure, the next door opening, the next road taken. A kaleidoscope of choices, of places to hear about, a world that unfolded before my eyes chapter by chapter, year by year.
And when each year would pause for the summer break, I was the strange and different child who would cry, sad and heartbroken, as if to discover that all of the crayons in the box were broken. I couldn’t wait for my new box of crayons and my school supplies to come and the adventure to begin again.
My school bus days are long behind me now. Except for the children of my own that get on them. Still…every year…at the first change of color in the leaves, the first hint of coolness in the breeze, a part of me yearns for a fresh box of crayons, my own new school supplies and new classes to get those learning juices going again. Even as the playfulness of summer is still fresh in my mind there is another part of me, the perpetual student, heading off to the bookstore for new books to read, thirsting for knowledge, chomping at the bit for the next discovery in the chapter of life.
It’s September. The Labor Day Weekend has been put to rest with celebration, family and good friends. The husband is off to work and the children have climbed the yellow school bus with fresh new school supplies in hand. Early this morning, I took out my own fresh journal that I felt compelled to buy and began writing down new lists, new beginnings. It’s the start of a new time of year after all. Time to begin again, wipe the slate clean. Start fresh…with a new box of possibilities…
I come up to the office and I open up the box. It has been sitting here waiting for me, as I knew it would. Just as it has been for the last several years. I carefully lift open the top and peek inside. Every crayon point is poised and ready. Every crayon in its original space. As if to say…In case of emergency…Color Here. I inhale deeply the aroma of paraffin wax and paper and shiver slightly as that childhood thrill brings a smile. My own box of possibilities. Ready any time I need it. Every day. 64 ways to begin again…with endless combinations…as far as my dreams, imaginations and desire to learn will take me.
It’s never too late.
What will September bring for you?