Decades of children and always the same drawing. A square and a triangle are a house. Circles for heads. The torsos present the most variation, depending on the artistic inclinations of the child: differentiated arms and legs for some, for others just lines, oblong figures that motion toward the idea of a body. Big smiles on the faces (Unless the child is sad, and then there may be frowns, exploded heads or chopped-off arms with spurts of blood, tongues of orange fire from the roof—better put it aside to show the school counselor later).
The point is that we all begin from the same place, born out of the same primordial darkness into wakefulness. The same milestones reached in the same order at roughly the same ages, barring complications of course. It is as if they draw, the boys and girls, from one collective mind. Who said that? Freud or Jung? One of them did, and they must have had these drawings in mind.
Green grass and blue sky, the sky always clustered near the top of the page. The ambitious ones add clouds. And always, without fail, the bright yellow sun. As if the children have intuited its significance long before they do the lesson with the bean sprouts in the cups. “Don’t look at it,” an anxious mother tells the child in the stroller, squinting up at the sky. And the children, drawing their houses and families and scraggly trees, add that yellow sun, the finishing touch, the most important thing, that ball of light from which they will spend a lifetime looking away.
Kat Solomon has a MFA from Washington University in St. Louis. She currently teaches English as a Second Language in the Boston area.