Like Colors in a Crayon Box

I love crayons. I loved them when I was small, I loved them when my children were small, and I will love them when my ‘yet to be born’ grandchildren are small. I have always felt that a new box of crayons is symbolic of all that is right with life and the world.

The vibrancy and variety of colors along with pointed tips delight me every time. They’re so pretty, so full of life, so full of potential. As if the crayons know that paper is waiting for each one to come out and fill in the white space with a kaleidoscope of color.

My life is like colors in a crayon box.

Pakistan was the box of primary colors that you get when you’re a child; it’s not a large box but it is magical and full.  With colorful mirror work and embroidery, bold patterns and Sindhi rillis, my life began in these primary colors. My childhood filled with light and affirmation, a joyous splash of reds, yellows, oranges and greens.

My entry to the United States was a box of business greys and blacks with occasional patriotic splashes of red, white and blue. I was in Chicago and it was a time of my life where the oranges, yellows, and fuchsias weren’t common. They  came only in pairs of two or three when my past life would show up, bringing with it a vibrancy that contrasted with the hard and unyielding crayon colors of black and grey.

When I moved to the Middle East, it was like getting a giant box of 96 crayons with a built-in sharpener. The initial colors were muted; the black of an abaya, the grey of a hijab. But just past the surface were more colors than you could count. While my Pakistani crayon box was my childhood love, my adult love became the crayon box of the Middle East and all its people, sites, smells and sounds.

The Phoenix crayons came in neutrals and desert hues, warm and brown, inviting me to rest awhile in the sun. And rest I did, each day waking up to the beauty of the desert.

I now find my crayon box filled with Central Square in Cambridge. I pass through  daily and find that Central Square has no pastels. Rather it is a box of wild and crazy colors with interesting names. There is nothing muted about this crayon box. It is dizzying in its hues and shades.

It’s difficult to imagine my life with any of these crayon boxes missing. Each place has provided a new box and a different picture is colored; each picture unique and specific to the crayons it represents.

What does your life crayon box look like? Is it filled with pastels or primary colors, neutrals or shades of grey? Would love to hear through the comments. 

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12 thoughts on “Like Colors in a Crayon Box

  1. I just love this analogy! It fills my heart with great joy to think of the beauty that exists in each of our landscapes withe varied colors that fill each one. Mine have always been filled with blues and greens of every shade growing up by the ocean. Those colors still shout “home!” to me every time.

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    1. Love this! I love that the colors of home for you are colors of the ocean. Amazing picture of calm waves and beaches mixed with choppy sea and stormy waters.

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  2. Interesting perspective. I’ve often thought that as I grew up in the 60s as a small child colors were more muted, or black and white, like the tv’s. Then the 70s exploded with color – and crazy fashion. The 80s were super bright colors and the 90s were muddy colors during the grunge phase.

    I like your concept here.

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    1. Oh – love this! Crayon box according to the colors imposed on us by fashion and the like. Kind of goes with your Sears post. Which by the way has been enjoyed by many of our FB friends. Thank you!

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    1. Oh my gosh! Yes – the turquoise of the nursing uniforms, the black of the stripes for each year, and the tan of the flesh that I kept on gaining through late night study breaks with trail mix and Chicago pizza….ayaiayaiayaiayai

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    1. Thanks Laura – I’m so glad you came by again! Life in colors – it’s the greys and blacks of course that are most difficult to write about, but that’s another post.

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  3. What a glorious analogy, Marilyn! The box of 96 crayons reminded me of my childhood. The most I got was 16, and was SO envious of the ‘rich’ kids with their mega-boxes. Hmmmm…..think it’s time to go out and buy one. For the grand-baby, of course. ;-)

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    1. Ohhh! I know – those boxes of 96 were so enviable! And yes – your grand babies need one for sure. How else are they going to keep up with their amazing grandma (who looks like she’s in her forties)

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