I have hazy memories of being a young child, flashes of recollection here and there. Moment from preschool, from Reception class and those primary school years beyond. But one thing I remember clearly is drawing as a child. I would draw and colour everything, loving to be creative and loving to make my mark on any paper I could find.
And in those days of drawing and colouring I remember, vividly, colouring in grass at the bottom of the page, colouring a bright yellow sun in one of the top corners – usually the left – and then colouring the strip of paper across the page from the sun in the brightest blue I could find.
The centre of the page would stay white for anything I felt could go there – often houses, flowers and cars – all the same size and all surrounded by this white space, with grass below them and sky above them.
But over the years the sky would get coloured in, all the way down to the grass and something clicked, where I knew that the sky was really air and instead of being all the way up in the sky where it looks the brightest of blue it’s really all around us, and not really blue at all.
But watching LP colour the other day I realised that she too, sees grass on the ground and blue sky far away from where her arms can reach. She draws that same yellow sun and that same strip of green with a parallel strip of blue.
When I asked her what the white space was she said ‘For the flowers Mummy’, and that was it, she had the same explanation that I had when I was little too – that white space was for everything between the grass and the sky.
But no-one teaches children to colour. No-one teaches children that the sky is up there and the grass is down there with white space in between. It’s just the way their brain works, the learning process, from knowing that there’s sky above them and grass below to knowing that in fact the sky is all around them.
But at which point do we learn that the sky meets the grass? When do we stop seeing that beautiful blue sky all the way above us and the greenest of grass beneath our feet, with a whole blank world in the middle?
As a child I saw that strip of blue and as an adult I know that the blank white space should in fact be blue but at what point do children learn that? I know now I’ll be watching LP colour those scenes as she does – with hills, trees and My little Pony, and one day they will all be surrounded by blue and I will be sad that another moment of childhood has gone and the sky does in fact now meet the grass.