Last week, my son returned home with a rather disturbing drawing, and a story to match. He is in first grade. In a mild panic, I called my sister.
“So, what do you think?” I asked.
“I think it’s disturbing. Do you remember the time Mom was called into the Guidance Office for YOU?”
Oh. Right. I had this creative writing teacher. Who, in spite the fact that she was probably well educated and well intentioned, had been transformed by my pre-teen angst into a dumb, nasty, witch.
Our assignment was to take four half-sheet cards and draw four watercolor pictures of the four seasons. For each season, we were to write a haiku.
I thought this was a colossally stupid, dumb and BO-ring idea. (Imagine me with my hands on my hips with some 12-year old scowl on my face.) Of course, I didn’t actually put my hands on my hips and make a scowl, I just decided to be obnoxiously obedient.
I decided to draw four very BO-ring (exactly the same) drawings. I would change the colors for the seasons, but that is all. I would write four very light and sappy haikus. Because, I thought the teacher’s brain was light and sappy and she would probably even LIKE it. Fine.
Winter. I drew a white landscape, a blue sky, and a small, leafless tree on the right side in the distance. I wrote a sappy haiku about a stark, lonely, and beautiful winter.
Spring. I drew a green landscape, a blue sky (with openings for white clouds), and a tree with leaves on the right side in the distance. I wrote a sappy haiku about budding leaves and the beauty of spring.
Summer. I drew a green landscape (with a little brown), a blue sky without clouds, and a tree with leaves on the right side in the distance. I wrote a sappy haiku about a happy summertime.
Fall. At this point, I had no interest in spending time drawing different color leaves. I drew a dark purple landscape with an orange-yellow sky. I drew a leafless tree on the right side in the distance. I decided it was late Fall. Fine. Done.
As I was touching up the landscape, a big blob of dark paint fell from my brush onto my beautiful orange sky. In a panic, I quickly picked up the card, and watched the big gray blob of paint drip down to meet my landscape.
After staring a hole into the “ruined” card, I realized that my big gray blob did add something to my picture, and I wrote the following haiku, which I remember to this day:
Nuclear mushrooms, Blooming on the Autumn plain, Take claim on the world.
Ha! Done! I turned in my pictures with Autumn at the bottom.
And, within a few days, my mother received a call from the school wondering why her daughter so cheerfully predicted the end of the world . . . .
My son’s picture remains on our refrigerator.
And, on the right side in the distance, I hear my mother’s laughter.