“If I could take nice pictures and had a camera, I’d love to photograph the changing seasons,” I thought to myself. Again. I wished I’d been blessed with the gift of photography on the day that talents had been handed out.
I had the same thought again a few days ago as I looked out my bedroom window, noticing how much the trees had changed in such a short period of time. And thinking how much fun it’d be to document the transition. “If I could take nice pictures and had a camera,” I began again. And then I stopped. Wait. I do have a camera.
Within a matter of minutes I was shoving on rain boots and grabbing my camera, throwing its red and white polka-dot strap over my shoulder as I marched out the front door. Whether or not I could take “nice” pictures didn’t even matter, I told myself. I enjoyed taking pictures, so I was going to take them.
Once I was outside, heading onward towards autumnal adventures, I turned my camera on and flipped through the last pictures I’d taken. They were vacation photos. I hadn’t touched my camera, not even once, since Ian and I had been on vacation. My camera had just been hanging by its strap in the closet, waiting.
Waiting for what?
I’m not sure exactly. Maybe for me to stop acting like such a grownup.
My biggest worry when it came to art as a child was that someone else would copy me. In fact, “He’s copying me!” was something I regularly hollered at the parental units. “Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery,” was usually the reply. Flattery? I didn’t care about flattery. I already knew it was good; I just didn’t want anyone stealing my stuff.
But then one day, I’m not entirely sure how, things changed. Art stopped being play and became a profession. Art stopped being messy and became a way to make money. Art became the domain of artists, and I didn’t know the secret knock to get me into the club.
Some kids were corralled into a beautiful box marked “Artist,” where the expectations that go along with intimidating words like Talent and Gift I’m sure hung heavy around their small shoulders, while the rest of us eventually hung up our finger paints, coloring books, and even cameras. Or at least I did.
Luckily, autumn is infectious. The brisk winds and bright colors seem to call us out of the house to play, and to remember that at one point there wasn’t a difference between jumping in a pile of crunchy leaves and painting a sunset. It was all bright and colorful. It was all wild and messy. It was all magic. But, best of all, it was all fun.
I called my walk self-care. And it certainly was. But sometimes I think that’s just boring grownup speak for some much needed, good old-fashioned fun. The messy art of childhood.
What does messy art look like for you? How are you having fun this autumn? I’m happy to report that my camera has a lot more than just vacation pictures now, and I plan to continue this trend.