Since being invited to take a foray into black and white, I’ve happened upon scenes which translate well–metaphorically–into the absence of color.
There has been no unifying theme, but it occurs to me that three were taken looking down at the earth beneath my feet. Two–one of a tentative spring bird, and this shot of billowing pure white beyond black steel twisted into a colony of perpetually flying birds–aimed up at the heavens. Only one, though sunlit, was taken indoors.
The five pictures were taken in three different states. None was taken at my own eye level. Although two were taken downtown in heavily populated cities, not a human is in sight.
I don’t want to read too much into this, and today marks an anniversary prone to plummet me into not necessarily productive solitary musings, but I sometimes wonder why my vantage point so effectively seals me off, even in a city of millions.
“And out on the street, there are so many possibilities to not be alone. . . .” And yet I am.
It can be empty out there, even when the streets are filled.
“We relinquished color when we relinquished sunshine and did away with difference. We gained control of many things. But we had to let go of others.”
In Lois Lowry’s “The Giver,” a character makes the transition from a world of black and white to one where he can see color. It begins with an apple. Gradually it dawns on the reader that the sea change being described is the ability to see red.
On this frigid, snowy first day of spring, I feel like I’m travelling in the other direction: ruby berries, a cloudless cerulean sky, cinnamon-dusted ochre branches, and a soft gold feathered mask . . .
All of them are black and white, still steeped in deep winter.
Empty chairs and empty tables. Old bricks, forged from clay the copper red of blood, turn ghostly gray. Are those shadows from iron chairs, or scars in the sidewalk? Outdoor seating on the cusp between seasons: even when the sun breaks through, it is too cold to be inviting.
Yet there comes a time when black and white turns Technicolor. You can see it with a blink–tables filled, the smell of ground coffee wafting through a bakery door as customers no longer cocooned for winter stream in and out, patio seating restored to forest green, yapping dogs tethered to chair legs as their human companions soak in summer sun. Traffic and flowers just beyond the bricks. A fountain sprung back to whooshing life. Fathers and children walking hand-in-hand. Alive, alive, oh.