When I was a little girl, I remember staring out the window on a snow day. The ground was blanketed, and I took comfort from behind a chilled window pane. Even though I couldn’t have been more than five years old, I was moved by the beauty.
At five years old, I was fearless. I was everything I wanted to be. I was an artist–a painter, a writer, a musician, a poet. When I saw the snow, I grabbed my crayons and construction paper and set out to put on paper the beauty I saw outside my window. I knew it wouldn’t last forever. It had become a part of me, and even those things we carry on the inside don’t last forever. That’s why we must keep them somewhere else other than locked in our hearts. A heart is easily fooled, and sometimes we don’t remember things the way they really were.
I think I worked for hours on my picture, and when I finished, I was so proud. I showed it to my mother, who looked at it with some sort of bewilderment.
“Why did you color the snow PURPLE?”
When I looked outside the window, that’s what I saw. I saw snow, but I also saw the color purple. I’m not sure why. Even today when I look back on the moment I still see the color purple.
Maybe I saw the shadows in the snow that appeared to tint the frozen wonderland a lovely shade of lavender.
Maybe my child subconscious somehow knew that purple symbolizes all things magical and mysterious. Purple is the color of spirituality, the color of creativity, the color of dignity, and the color of royalty.
I can’t explain why I saw purple when everyone else saw white.
Now that I am a teacher, I still see purple when others see no color at all.
I see young minds who also see their own colors. They resist being told to see the color everyone else wants them to see. How can they be free thinkers if their thoughts are limited to a list of standards, thoughts that are common to the core?
How would Emerson and Thoreau respond? Perhaps it’s time we all retreat to the woods and demand “simplicity, simplicity, simplicity.” Let us march to the beat of our own drummer instead of having to line up as carbon copy soldiers in neatly spaced rows.
Some of us are not meant to follow the crowd. Some of us choose our own paths, the road less traveled.
A gypsy spirit cannot be confined; a bohemian soul doesn’t see life in black and white. Open space. Vivid colors. Beauty.
When we cage our people, we take away their freedom. When we cage their thoughts, we make them conform to common expectations. When we demand conformity, we limit the growth of the individual. While the majority diminishes in self, the elite prosper. And the world evolves into what only a few would have it be.
Ask Maya Angelou why the caged bird sings.
Fall is in the air now. Earthly tones paint our lives, sunflower yellows, pumpkin oranges, mum violets, and fallen leaf rusts. The world is beautiful and bright–now. But winter is on the way. Prepare yourselves for shades of grey.
I, however, am looking for purple.