Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Writing Senses: colors

A writing exercise... to think back over your day and paint it with the colors you saw, and whatever else comes to mind.

A moody sea of blue that was the coverlet, now thrown back in heaps of stormy, rumpled sheets, tossed aside with my morning thrust out of bed. Oily, fragrant, coal-black coffee, swirling with creamy white ribbons; it tugs jovially on my eyelids, laughing at my stupor, drawing me up towards the light of the day. The sunrise, pale and pink, peaking through the cold windowpanes, but muted by the soft cloud cover and the concrete jungle it meets.

Blue, sparkly eyes rubbed with groggy, fleshy little hands on their way to the bathroom. I boil water. The shiny metal pot; cold and sterile like the thoughts running through my head. Where is the thrill to embrace the day, the charge of these little ones barking for breakfast like a nest of newborn sparrows, heads thrown back, mouths open wide? It’s buried in the blankets of my unmade bed… I’ll find it later when I make her nice and neat, tuck in the corners, smooth out the wrinkles, ship shape it up so at least it looks pretty. Pretty, for an hour… or two. Where did Caroline Ingalls get the stamina to make those beds day after day and wipe the dishes, and make red calico aprons, and decorate her dinner table all pretty with flowers and starched cloth and strawberry cut outs on her butter mold?

Did her baby ever pull on the corners, sending dishes crashing down? Or stick fingers in the crock, spilling fresh cream all around? Did she undo all the napkins and knock over flour bins? The sky is brightening still, and I see those honeyed curls, sleepy eyes and pink puckered lips, ready for a kiss… now the whir begins. 

I know, I know it all will pass, and pass too fast. So drink it in; and look up quick, see Mercy meet me on my knees, weak with pleas and full of need. But Mercy does what Mercy knows, and that’s to make a girl who’s slow, slow to see and hear and go, into a woman full of Joy.

Grey, wet slabs. Slip, slap, slosh. Banging clanging metal carts with dull and lifeless, timeworn plastic handles and little orange seats for tiny legs and torsos. Glaring overhead lights and a me, lost in the sea of silky straight ebony hair. Find me the green yogurt and the blue carton of milk, throw in a tightly wrapped bunch of sickly looking celery and overly robust apples, their plump red bodies shining with the health of too many chemicals. Grey sky, grey day, grey roads to pave the way. Soft light and reddened cheeks greet this geek, with hair not sleek and clothes not chic, Freakish week. Feeling bleak. They finally sleep.

But I’m awake and full of knowledge; knowing the day, the minutes that swept me along, throwing me here and there without a breath to spare. I linger on those moments now, after they are gone and feel the weight of all that was left undone. It’s true irony… the freedom I now know and want to roll around in. The things I couldn’t do when hands were full of little needs and dirty sheets, the words I longed to write and read and sit with over a cup of tea. Now I spread them out before me, like a buffet in my mind. Take your pick! And savor the silence, but all I know now is that I’m tired.
Mercy meet me in my need.
Show me all I do not see.


  1. that was beautiful. thank you Christine. Praise Jesus, that Mercy does what Mercy knows, even while we are so unaware that we are receiving it.
    I am so blessed by your gift of expression. thank you for sharing it.

  2. well actually it was Andrea

  3. This may be my favorite post so far. (You know I subscribe to you, along with the NYTimes with GoogleReader, right?) Thanks especially for the references to Caroline Ingalls...seriously...how did she manage to make those strawberry butter cutouts?

    Are you still looking for a copy of the next book? Or were you able to find it? Let me know.