Apple Fest 2009, Monmouth, Maine
The white paint at the face painting table was a bit chunky. Ten-year old Lily was in charge of decorating the faces of all Apple Fest attendees brave enough to endure her brush.
Paisley sat before Lily. “White is the only one that’s messed up?” Paisley asked the child.
“Yes,” confirmed Lily.
“Alright,” said Paisley. “I want to be a cat. But don’t use any white. And just make my whole face like a cat.”
“Okay,” replied Lily.
Lily dipped her brush into the white paint and immediately applied it to Paisley’s cheek.
“No no, I thought you weren’t going to use white!?” Paisley cried out, amused by the little girl’s defiance.
Lily continued by administering white paint to the other cheek. “I’m just doing the cat’s antics,” she assured her human canvas.
Paisley arched her eyebrow. “His antics? You mean his antenna, like his whiskers?”
“Noooooo,” Lily answered as if Paisley’s question were the most nonsensical combination of words ever uttered by a human being. “Cats don’t have antennas. It’s his antics.”
Standing behind Lily the entire time, I was watching the highly entertaining scene. Paisley looked at me. I began to giggle. “Don’t make me laugh,” she told me. Paisley looked back at Lily. “His antics?”
“Yeah, his antics,” Lily confirmed. “You know, like his behavior.”
Now Paisley and I were both cracking up. The young artist was not amused with our lack of sophistication apropos of her work. Once we calmed down, Lily continued painting. As I watched her apply black paint for the whiskers, I had a realization.
“No really Paisley, it’s the antics. It totally looks like the cat’s antics,” I said. Somehow at that moment, it made sense to me. I want to believe that if Lily painting a cat’s antics (which according to her is equivalent to its behavior) is an actual creative possibility, then anything is possible. Also, I want to believe that all things will make sense to me one day.
Lily painted an apple on my face. I instructed her to make it the most beautiful, amazing apple she had ever painted. Lily did just that.
Paisley’s cat antics (above), my apple (below)
Lily’s sign (below)