Monday, February 10, 2014

Color is all around us ~ My Column from Sunday's Paper

NOTE: This is a blog post that evolved into a column.

During the coldest months of winter, when the silhouette of bare trees look stark against a grey sky and dried leaves as thick as thatch cover the earth, it’s easy to forget that color is everywhere.

We don’t have the usual palette of color provided by flowers, fashion and gardens, but it is
still there if you know where to look. 

There's color in the scent of pine, in the aroma of dark-roast coffee brewing on cold mornings and warm bread baking in the oven. 

There's color in the near-silent sound of falling snow, birds chattering as they scavenge for food late in the evenings or Canon in D Major playing softly as background music to the movie of your life.

There's color in the feeling of warm sun on your face. I experienced this first hand today when the sun came back with a vengeance. The cold weather retreated to the north and let the temps creep back into the 60s. 

I rolled up the legs of my sweatpants and the sleeves of my sweatshirt and sat on the deck for a long while with my face tilted toward the sun. A jet so high the sound was lost in the wind left a chalky diagonal line across the blue sky. I took a mental snapshot to capture the color.

Later when I'd finished my work, I stepped back outside to take corn down to the field for the deer.

The low-slung sun cast long shadows, but a beam of light filtered through the canopy and spotlighted our bottle tree in the empty flowerbed by the deck. I slid the iPhone from my pocket and snapped a photo.

People here in the south, for the most part, aren’t crazy about cold weather and it’s often hard to think of anything that puts a positive spin on the season. 

After weeks of the coldest weather we’ve had in over a decade, I’ve heard a lot of people say, “I wish it were spring.” 

That’s one phrase you will never hear me utter. I’m at the age now that I don’t want to wish away a second of my life, much less a month. 

The thing is that in August when the mercury is knocking the top off our thermometers here, those same folks will be wishing for cooler weather.

Life moves fast and in the scheme of things, none of us are here for more than the blink of an eye. 

I’ve written about this before but it fits here. My fifth-grade teacher had a little poem that she always recited whenever she heard someone wishing their lives away:

As a rule, man’s a fool,

When it’s hot, he want’s it cool,

When it’s cool, he want’s it hot,

Always wants what he ain’t got.

It was hard seeing the wisdom of those words when I was 10 years old, but I’m blown away at just how profound they are. 

Do yourself a favor during the coming weeks and look for the things that add color to your life in winter.


  1. Beautiful...wonderful imagery! Your words paint beautiful pictures in my mind making this time of year suddenly seem like a gift despite the below zero weather here in the Midwest. Thank you, my friend!

  2. I am trying to be patient for Spring and Summer... I am not one of the people that has those times of the year and wishes it away... for us here... winter is quite long... usually from November until April, roughly 5-6 months... so I truly appreciate the other seasons :)

  3. That little ditty pretty much sums up people. No idea why it's so hard to step back and experience the world as it is rather than how we'd like it to be, but it helps to get the occasional reminder. Cheers.

    Moody Writing

  4. Oh, I try to add color this time of year with my paintings. It's about the only thing at this point of winter to make me feel better. I'm one of those that hates, detests, HATES winter, but you know, it makes the event of spring much more's coming...right around the corner!!!!

  5. The white stuff is piled quite high, the sky is grey with the next storm. At least we have cardinals and blue jays.

  6. Love the descriptions using color...
    And, thank you for reminding me to relish every moment....especially the moments I'm in right now.
    Sending hugs,


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