Seeking Color

There has to be some color somewhere!

Faced with another day of overcast skies, dull greens and duller browns, I nonetheless grabbed my camera and made my daily trek to the school bus stop to meet my kids.

I hadn’t taken more than a few steps out of the apartment when I realized I was on a mission: I was going to find some color, damn it! There had to be some. Surely, I just wasn’t looking hard enough.

What I found:

There isn’t much, it’s true. Unless you get a nice, thick snow to brighten things up, this is simply a dull time of year in the Eastern US….there’s no getting around it.

But “not much” is not the same as “nothing.”

And having to work a little to find that something? It makes the find all that much sweeter.

Take this little flower. It's really pretty! Give me some spring blooms or summer lushness or the colors of autumn, I'd never even see this. And it's pretty.
Take this little flower. It’s really pretty! Give me some spring blooms or summer lushness or the colors of autumn, and I’d never even see this. It deserves its moment.
Red berries are kind of quintessentially "winter." But they seem especially vibrant right now, set against so much that is NOT. They make my eyes feel good!
Red berries are kind of quintessentially “winter.” They make me think of holly and snow. But they’re actually even more vibrant right now, set against so much that is NOT. They make my eyes feel good!

And then there’s something I rarely think about: that maybe this is the time of year to add my own color.

I was wearing an olive-colored coat when I took these photos, with a predominantly off-white scarf (kind of a dull cream.) Black yoga pants and slate-gray sneakers rounded out my attire. I’d been writing all day (and thinking about doing yoga, though I didn’t actually do anything,) so I didn’t have any makeup on, and my hair was just back in a ponytail.

So essentially, I was doing pretty much nothing at all myself to brighten the scene.

Not that I can see myself when I’m out. But it’s sort of the principle of the issue.

I thought about that when I took this picture of my son later.

He wants to help out his dad and me out with finances by busking with his flute. I suggested he first learn how to play the flute - so he sat down to practice.
He told me that he’s decided to help out his dad and me with finances by busking with his little reed flute that he got last year from the Native American Museum (in DC). I suggested he first learn how to play the flute – so he sat down to practice.

His red coat is such a nice bright spot amidst the grayish tone of everything around him. As with the berries, my eyes like resting on it.

*

It’s not that I require vibrant natural color twelve months out of the year. I actually really like the change of seasons – and this isn’t the season for visual boldness. Not around here anyway – and I accept that. (I have no trouble at all with the idea of traveling somewhere tropical right now and immersing though!)

And I do appreciate how having to actually seek color is what compelled me to notice, say, that little flower from above. There are benefits to be gained, personal benefits, through finding ways to cope with environments that aren’t exactly ideal for you.

But that doesn’t mean that I want to exist within a perpetual monochrome! Or that I want to – or even should – wholeheartedly embrace the idea that that’s what surrounds me right now.

*

I think I simply need to be more active in seeking out what I want. Maybe there are more little flowers, just waiting for somebody to notice and appreciate them. Who knows?

I’d like to explore that question. I’d like to know.

And…I think I might need to paint my nails today. Something vivid. Something to mark the fact that, while I’m tolerating this dullness, I’m not completely giving in to it.

*

Practicing photography mirrors life in pretty much every way for me. It’s funny.

This color stuff…it’s about empowerment.

I didn’t really grasp that until I started writing this.

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