Small wooden cubbys, low standing shelves filled with colorful, oversized books for little hands, wooden building blocks, puzzle pieces strewn about, kindergarten-sized easels with fresh rolls of white paper looped over the fronts. The childhood smell of primary colors.
As I lay on the floor, head supported by the kickstand of my bent arm, blue slacks and brown shoes moved past me, placing small, square cartons of chocolate milk with paper straws onto a miniature table.
I spotted the brand new box of 64 Crayola crayons sitting patiently amongst the other art supplies. My imagination immediately saturated with the vibrant image of a beautifully drawn butterfly. I walked over to the box of crayons, picked them up, and set them in the tray on the easel as I pulled down a fresh piece of paper from the roll.
I could see the entire completed image in my head. Very carefully, I drew from memory the flowing black outline of the butterfly, making sure I used up all of the space on the paper. I filled the wings one at a time, tenaciously, with a great number of intricate and varied circles. This took a long time, I think, but I was deliciously lost.
With consummate attention, I delighted in liberating each and every crayon from the box. Meticulously I withdrew each virgin crayon, one at a time, each perfectly pointed tip coloring in a different circle. I know I used every crayon and had to start over again, so there were at least 64 circles in those wings, conjured by my five year old spirit.
Occasionally, I would feel the vague presence of a teacher passing behind or hear the voices of the other children playing, in a faraway muted background. I was busy walking around inside of that butterfly. I was part of it, and it of me. It was at that precise moment that I made up my mind to be an artist. It was my first taste of losing myself, being transported, of sweet escape. This would prove to be a feeling I chased, in many ways, for many years.