This story may become part of the book I hope to write about Amelia’s journey to find out if she can be lost but not afraid. It is a continuation of the last part I shared here. With chickens, anything can happen.
“I want to draw Amelia,” she repeated more emphatically. Emily seemed startled by her own boldness. “You will teach me, won’t you?”
“There is nothing I would rather do,” I said.
Just like that, Emily’s Summer Drawing Camp began. Over the next few days, we looked at shapes and drew shapes.
There was the oval of an egg when you looked at it one way, and the circle of an egg when you looked at it another way. Emily thought this was fascinating. “One egg, but not one shape. I lay eggs all the time, but I never noticed that.”
“You’ve just discovered one of the biggest secrets of drawing. Look and study and look again. There are a lot of people who have never been to Summer Drawing Camp like you. Even so, they can tell whether something looks right or wrong, but they can’t tell you what it is or why. That is what you are learning to do.”
Worms from the garden were one of her most favorite subjects. These were difficult for her to draw because they kept moving, and she had to resist the urge to eat them.
“I love studying these shapes!”
“I thought you would,” I said as she was gobbling down her last worm model.
“Did you know chickens change shapes all the time? You make different shapes when you stretch out your necks or tuck them in close, when you fluff out your feathers, when you walk, and when you fly.”
“I will need to study those things if I’m going to draw Amelia, won’t I?”
So Gracie became our first drawing model. She would get up on a crate and make a ballet pose for Emily to draw. Gracie would hold still in the dance pose for as long as she could. It was great practice for both of them.
Then Pearl took over as our drawing model because Pearl hardly ever stands still. We watched Pearl do silly walks back and forth, and then Emily drew what she remembered.
Sometimes she remembered very well, and other times not so well. But the main thing was drawing the silly part correctly because that made it a drawing of Pearl. If she didn’t get the silly part right, Emily would add other details such as barred markings on the feathers to make the drawing look like Amelia.
One day before starting, Emily asked, “Is it true what you wrote in the book about friendship? Is it true drawing lets you do things you would never be able to do any other way?”
“Yes, that’s true. At least, I believe it’s true. Not everything is true just because you believe it, but there are some things that are true whether you believe or not.”
“I want to make a drawing of Amelia and me flying together in the sky.”
We had been practicing with just the old box of white chalk from the workbench, but I wanted this drawing of Amelia and Emily to be special. I found a box of colored chalk, and Emily began creating.
She worked carefully without saying a word. Her concentration was intense.
Finally she said, “I’m ready.”
This was not what I had expected to hear, not yet. She had only drawn Amelia flying in the sky. She had not drawn herself. This was not a drawing of Amelia and Emily flying together in the sky.
Maybe she was too embarrassed to tell me she wasn’t sure how to draw herself.
“Do you need anything else? Like maybe a mirror?” I asked.
“I’m ready now,” she said impatiently. “Let’s prop it up against the workbench like we always do.”
As soon as her drawing was in place for us to look at, she stood beside it, closed her eyes, and then she opened them again. She closed her eyes for a bit longer, and then she opened them again. The third time, she closed her eyes and kept them closed.
Slowly her wings began to stretch out until they were fully extended.
She trembled with excitement.
Her eyes opened wide, but she wasn’t seeing the garage or me. It was as if all she saw was sky and Amelia beside her, the moon above her, and the fields and forests and rivers below them.
She swayed from side to side as if being carried along by winds high into the sky above.
She looked to her right, then began opening and closing her beak. No sound or words came out, but I knew she was calling to Amelia. She was saying how delightful everything looked when they were flying up high together.
I am unsure how long I sat there on the garage floor watching Emily, but I didn’t dare speak or move. She had not been so happy for the longest time.
Suddenly Emily did several strong, fast wing flaps as if she was landing. She blinked her eyes, tucked her wings close to her sides, and looked at me.
“I was flying with Amelia,” she said. “Just like you said would happen.”
This was not what I had meant about drawing and believing, but it didn’t matter.
“I know you were, Sweetie. I know. That’s why you said you were ready. That’s why you didn’t draw yourself with chalk like you drew Amelia, isn’t it?”
“It was all so beautiful, and seeing Amelia was the most beautiful part of all.”
She hopped into my lap and sat down.
“It’s good to be back home,” she said as she rested her head against me.
“It’s good to have you back home.”
My Life With Gracie (and especially Emily) showed me drawing lets you do things you would never be able to do any other way.
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