“I could not agree with those who called the autumn a decline” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday September 4, 2019
5 minutes
Earthly Paradise
Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

I will always recall the critique of my sixth grade teacher
in front of the entire class one afternoon as she made an
example out of me. The task was to draw three autumn trees
with pastels; the reds, the oranges, the golds.
I drew two reasonably lovely trees. I had spent so much time
getting those two just so and the bell rang. We were painting
on the hill outside our classroom and I was inspired by the
falling leaves, the perfect newness of September and all its
promise. Instead of quickly or poorly drawing one more tree,
or admitting that I couldn’t get it done in the time allotted,
I decided on the spot to rip the edges of the white paper to
frame the two trees I had drawn with an intentionality that I
was prone to back then. Such creative choices were so easily
discovered. I ripped it to give it a rustic look that would
mirror the trees and all their splotchy crowns: the dabs, the
finger tip strokes. When my teacher showed it to everyone she
said, This person was so lazy, they only did two trees and they
couldn’t even be bothered to use a pair of scissors.