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Monday, April 30, 2012

An Informed Mind


K. Frank age 5
in  style of Matisse
Yesterday, when I was looking into the proud face of a five-year old child who just lost her second tooth, I was struck by how many influences inform a mind.  For instance, I learned that the reason the tooth fairy could not leave her picture when she visits children is that when fairies are photographed, their images disappear. This little girl recently composed a poem that granted me a window on the complicated  interior life of a five-year old’s mind.  Who would have guessed?  I was as “surprised” as she was!
                                                                    Casey Kittredge 
                                                                April, 2012
Surprised is the color of a light pink heart.  
It sounds like 'poof'.
It smells like roses.
It tastes like pasta.
It looks like someone is coming over to your house who you haven't seen in a while.
Surprised feels like a soft blanket.
Earlier today, I read a blurb (it was photographs and captions, how can that be called an essay?) in www.Livestrong.com that delineated the twenty-one vegetarian foods that are most helpful in building bone mass.  I discovered that a mixture of pea-rice-hemp protein is reported to taste great, is high in fiber, and is low in carbohydrates.  Something new to try. Of the other twenty food items, one was new to me, altogether.  I noticed my nose crinkled when I read about it. Seitan, not as common as tofu, is used as a meat substitute.  It was first imported to the U.S. from China in 1969.  It is a wheat derivative that is high in protein.  http://www.livestrong.com/slideshow/556369-the-21-best-muscle-building-foods-for-vegetarians/  Another lesson learned today.
 When my daughter, Kay, first showed an early facility with art and color, I recognized I was going to have to learn to keep abreast of her. She was five, I was almost forty.  By the time Kay was ten and taking private art lessons, I I knew I had to do something to remedy my lack of native color sensitivity. I suspect that Kay never knew that when she would go to bed at night, I would borrow her color wheel (the favored tool of every young girl) and try to absorb the relationships between colors.  Finally, finally, I realized that I could simply rely on my own clothing to inform me if colors were complementary, analogous or neutralizing.  Kay was learning complex color theory at ten, and now, ten years later, she is an intern in a design house in Manhattan.  It is not unusual for her to spend the day dyeing fabrics to particular shades to create sample garments.  Meanwhile, I am still trying to determine the adequacy and relationship of shades and tones.   For those of you who wonder, check  out this worksheet http://www.whrhs.org/21331011516831110/lib/21331011516831110/colorhweel.pdf   As I was dressing this morning, I looked at the color of the thread used to sew the label on the back of my pants to match my socks.  I found a shade in my tunic to pull in the steel blue wrap-around sweater I was wearing.  
The color of threads on the label tells a tale.

The point of these little observational vignettes is that my world is informed by so many influences.  People, places, fragrances, memories, books, films and experiences collide somewhere in the grey matter of my brain.  I marvel at the richness of texture that all of these influences lend to our worlds.  Because of these varied spectra of experiences, we are all individuals. What further cements our unique individuality is the process by which we integrate all that which informs our minds.  All in all, it is a majestic proposition for creating diversity.  
Think about the value of concision, as a writer, a painter, or a dancer.
concision - the quality of being concise.  (Merriam-Webster Dictionnary)

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