on ‘seeing’ air and other childhood tales

When I was in elementary school I often entertained myself by gazing out the windows and watching the air dance. It was a sort of constant shimmer that only appeared when you could soft focus your eyes on a certain spot and hold your attention there. Slowly and almost imperceptibly that spot of air would begin to vibrate. Fascinating and more than enticing enough to claim this once-upon-a-time third grader’s attention on a regular basis. I remember wondering if other children could see air,  but never asked as it seemed like my own private delight. My other unusual talent( real or imagined) was that I used to think of people, mostly adults, in terms of color–not skin tones, but more like categorizing into personality type via the crayon box. Some people were red(grumpy/mean-spirited) some were gray( not well), some green or blue (my favorites) and a few were a kind of muddy yellow color with dark edges and I steered clear of these folks. 

I was a rather unusual child with a world-class imagination. Self contained and a precocious learner, my greatest delight was living across the street from an old Andrew Carnegie library. The librarians adored me. In the summer between third and fourth grade I  asked for (and received) permission to read stories in the children’s area two mornings a week. Heaven…We read fairy tales, child-sized biographies and my own favorites; which included Pipi Longstocking, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and Jules Vern’s novels.

To this day my mind seems to live in a house divided. I travel freely between two camps. Camp number one is the “Show-Me-The-Money” camp that wants to see and know the hard facts backed up with documented scientific data. The other is the “Awe and Wonder” camp that welcomes and creates a space for the mystery and paradox, those things unseen and those that dwell beyond the material realm. This is the camp that says, “Why Not?” Why not dancing air and people who show up as colors?

Today I am reflecting on creativity, wonder, gratitude and the delight of connecting with all of the children in my life.

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4 Responses to on ‘seeing’ air and other childhood tales

  1. Robin says:

    Penny, wonderful stuff! Awe and wonder! You are a writer extraordinaire.
    I also had similar experiences of the wind talking to me through the grasses moving as a child and their whisperings definitely made me understand a higher Power in the universe.
    Auras have been at times vivid for me to see around certain beings as an adult – especially purple and white. I like your crayon box colors – what a wonderful gift to have as a child.


  2. Mahalo, Robin. You know I have always felt a certain ‘simpatico’ with you and with Chelsea as well…sweet stuff.


  3. Katie says:

    I love this… people as colors. a wonderful way to learn how to trust your intuition even from an early age.

    Thank you for living in the land of fantasy and magic and miracles… at least 50% of the time.


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