Mary Hockenbery (reddirtrose)


Tell a kid to paint a picture of a home, give them red, blue, yellow, green, black and white. Most will paint a blue sky and green grass. Many will make pompom blue clouds floating on white paper sky, because who wants to waste time painting a whole huge blue sky. Some will paint a white house with windows, a path to a door, a black triangle roof and a rectangle chimney.

Those who aren’t in too much of a hurry to get to the sand or the bricks, will paint long green leaves, little yellow flowers and a bigger yellow sun. The eager ones will mix black and white together into grey smoke puffing from the chimney pot, and the quietest kids, you know the ones, will find smaller brushes, and carefully washing between each colour, will paint a string of prayer flags, and then paint a happy row of composting and recycling bins.

There won’t be many kids who pull your sleeve and say that they need help with some words; because words are hard to make with paintbrushes. Words are for signs, and most who ask for words will merely ask for MAIL and BOX. Only the kids from Mary’s neighbourhood will grab a brush with the red paint and ask you how you spell TRUTH MATTERS because that is a good sign around home. Lies damage and truth matters. It is what you might call a home truth; it really matters for all the kids, and all the adults too.

Blog photograph copyrighted to the photographer and used with permission by All photographs used on are stored on and are obtained via the flickr API. Text is copyrighted to the author, Rachel Irving and is used with permission by Please see Show and Share Your Work