My mother didn't want to turn the lights on because my father was resting in the hotel room. I colored on the floor at the foot of the bed as my mother gently stepped around my art creation. I think I asked my mother several times if we could live here forever. She thought this was humorous, but I meant it! I loved having so many people around us, and I loved that we were close together in this small place. Most of all, I loved that we were in a state of change, not a permanent state of the known. "When the house is completed it will be so exciting to go live in it", my mother countered. She looked at me. "Yes", I said, meaning "no". I liked the relaxed people my parents had become without all the stress of house, yard, job. They had been transformed by the impermanence of the situation without even realizing it. My dad had been playful with us and would take naps and was happier and my mom found time to read and talk to me and would throw the laundry at my dad and laugh. I liked the hotel and saw no reason why we should move onto some new place that would return us to our original selves.
With the lights off I continued to color in my coloring book. "Why aren't you coloring in the lines?" my mother asked, again. "Because I don't like to " I'd answer every time. I think that should have been a clear warning to my mom that I would always want to step outside the lines and that a life of neat, orderly line following was not in the cards. But despite my best efforts of art that covered right over the girl in a bonnet watering flowers that I was suppose to color, my mother did not see the signs of a constant, pain-in-the-ass, step outside of the lines, kid. I did my best to please my mom when I could, but a person designed to push boundaries must do so in life as well as on paper. So it should have come as no surprise when, at 15, I decided it was a good time to leave high school and strike out on my own. It was not the way it was suppose to be done, which made it the perfect path for me. Lots of us are boundary pushers, we walk among the line dwellers. We aren't satisfied with normal jobs and do few things the customary way. We disappoint those with hard-line expectations that embrace tradition.
Yet I was someone who loved my family and wanted to please those around me. It would have all worked out fine if they could have come to appreciate teal-colored faces that dripped green, ice-cube shaped tears that fell upon black, pointy, spear-shaped leaves on maroon roses in the snow. The girl with the bonnet was underneath my drawing and I didn't complain about that!
In life that is bigger than us, we have a right to more than the lines set up by convenience and culture. With minds that can interpret infinity inside of bodies painfully finite, it is a daunting task to remain inside the lines. Convicts have to stay inside the lines of bars and wear lines on their clothes. Children trapped at school have to "get in line" or "line up" or "form a single-file line" in order to move forward and do what is correct and if you blow it they send you to "the back of the line." Soldiers march in a line and they kill people and are sometimes killed and one needs a "clear line of sight" to hit one's target. Only in agriculture do plants grow in a line, Nature never does that and you don't want to be "lined out" when hoping to make the cut. Lines on my face aren't good and lines on the mirror means your wasting your money and life. Cops get mad when someone "crosses over the line" or make you "walk the line" if they think you have been drinking. When driving cars you can be in a head-on collision if you go over the center line and you may be "flat-lined" when you arrive at the hospital. I have found it healthiest to just avoid lines all together and when someone tries to get me in line, I smile and say "that's interesting".
And yet some days when my light-filled mind has expanded amidst the conversation of polite superficiality, the lines are so wonderful to fall back on so I can smile and you can think that I was listening when I wasn't. "That's interesting", smile. Or when I'm just too tired to do anything but walk the line, it is there like a good friend, the line of convention, of routine, of no real thought. In my exhaustion I can even be caught hugging that line, defending that line and upholding that boring, phallic line. But when I'm full with health, rest, and space, the line is nothing more than a chord I can play off of to illustrate how vast we are and how uncreative most of life becomes inside the line.