Not a single moment was wasted.

TulipTreeElm House Blog, tuliptreeLeave a Comment

By Bee

The morning air feels still and thick. The birds are quiet and I can’t hear any cars. The children move through the yard slowly, each meandering towards a different corner. I notice wet chalk by the stumps and wonder if the children will use it to create paint.

MC calls me over to one of our gardens. He is hunting for tulips and wants help. As I walk over I pass a container holding four small watercolor brushes. I feel excited and note their location.

Our tulip hunt ends quickly (no bulbs in that particular garden) and I walk over to the paintbrushes. I carry all four back to the stumps and the wet chalk that is still sitting unnoticed. I am the provocation. I take the soft chalk and grind it into the stump. It gives freely under pressure and quickly forms a thick paste of vibrant pink at my fingertips. I attempt to move it with my brush, but feel less than satisfied with the result. My paint is too thick, my weather worn brush too weak. I grab a tiny cup of water from the garage and return to the stump. The children are waiting, curious and expectant. Some brows raise in silent question, others furrow in quiet concentration.

I pour water onto my chalk paint. The pigment immediately lifts and swirls. Yes. Yes. Yes.

Hands appear before my eyes and I fill them with brushes. We collaborate.

SM moves her brush from side to side very quickly and lightly.

FD grinds chalk with her left hand and immediately flicks the paste in circles with the brush in her right hand.

CG drags her fingers through the paste and then rubs them together.

MS actively observes, eyes flicking from one peer to the next.

“There’s a lot of hairs in here.”

“Yes. We are being a little too rough with our brushes and accidentally damaging them. Their delicate hairs are falling out.”

CG uses her brush to apply a wisp of color to SMs face.

“We can have a little more water?”

I pour water across the stump and watch as hands rush forward. Two are filled with brushes, one with chalk, and one is empty with fingers spread wide ready to feel.

As hands reach forward, faces turn up to me, eyes wide, teeth flashing, sooooo many smiles.

“How do you feel when you’re painting?” I let my question hang in the air as an offering should anyone choose to accept it.

Silence. I wait and watch their hands…busy, busy, busy.


“You feel happy when you paint? I feel happy too.”


“I am glad you’re feeling happy too, CG.”

“And me, I am feeling happy.”

We moved from stump to stump, color to color, and painted our morning away. Not a single moment was wasted.

Feel free to leave any comments or wonderings in the space below.

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