Soul-Settling Yellow (Rambles in the Rainbow Garden: Part 3)

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By the winter when our youngest daughter was born, her brothers were old enough to conduct experiments upon her.

They held up a quarter-yard of pale yellow fabric and studied their baby sister’s reaction as it registered, first in her enormous amber eyes, then in her expressive pink-gummed smile.

They went through the yellow line-up: lined index cards, butterscotch game pieces, a golden diamond of honeycomb, bright tape, a stick of butter, loud book bindings.

It was buttercup yellow, with a soupcon of true orange, that made her eyes dance.

Thus they deduced her favorite color was this particular, sunny shade of yellow.

It takes some effort to find unhappiness in yellow.

Certain colors seem to settle the soul.

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Reflected Refraction

335Upon reflection

Sometimes double refraction

Best captures the light

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Rounded with a Sleep

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Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Ye all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep. . . .

Prospero, The Tempest, Act 4, Scene 1

A bridge half-swallowed by fog seems the stuff of disturbed dreams.  

But it seems equally otherworldly to happen in a city upon fields of grapefruit-sized lavender flowers, or fairy dwellings–or to see Suessian scarlet roping spilling from around a tree, a misty reflected shoreline, and layered clouds bubble and bruise before folding themselves into lambs and lions while children listen to their bedtime stories.   

My life may be short on revels, but even in daylight hours it can hold the dream world’s gloriously non-linear tumult, discord, and mystery.

   

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Emergent Orange (Rambles in the Rainbow Garden: Part 2)

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October Orange (c) 2014

 

Unless you attended an institution equipped with a tiger mascot (and accompanying Halloween school colors), orange is unlikely to be voluntarily featured in your daily color intake.

Yet orange is everywhere.  Literally.

Emergent orange results when one examines the mid-range of all pixels: everything reduces to orange.

I’ve recently attempted to organize thousands of pictures I took in the past few years.

Most are saturated with color, including quite a bit of eye-popping orange.

But I could instantly see that the photographs I took in the months leading up to my husband Jim’s death provided a notable outlier: gray, gray, and more gray.

Winter light occasionally made a valiant effort to peek through, but the best I seem to have recorded then was a sickly yellow patina washing into an undifferentiated sea of ash and steam.  In the photo archives, this swath of time is “a study in colorlessness.”

Months late, color began to nudge back into my photographs, beginning with emergent pastels.  Tentative lavender, pink, and pale yellow peeked into my pictures.

Regaining color evidently–at least for me–seems to have gone hand in hand with reclaiming a place to be productively in this world notwithstanding ever-echoing loss. Color seems to have tagged along for the ride as I tried to pick up the pieces.

And though it was a long time in coming, I can see in those collected photographic images the very moments when, finally, the Technicolor world returned with a roar of autumn orange.

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