Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Colors Balance Our Fears

Toward the Space Age

We must begin to catch hold of everything
around us, for nobody knows what we
may need. We have to carry along
the air, even; and the weight we once
thought a burden turns out to form
the pulse of our life and the compass for our brain.
Colors balance our fears, and existence
begins to clog unless our thoughts
can occur unwatched and let a fountain of essential silliness
out through our dreams.

And oh I hope we can still arrange
for the wind to blow, and occasionally
some kind of shock to occur, like rain,
and stray adventures no one cares about—
harmless love, immoderate guffaws on corners,
families crawling around the front room growling,
being bears in the piano cave. 

(Mary Oliver)

So true, I think, that colors balance fears, or offer something else to look at, something different to see.  Instead of days shortening, another year nearly over—the yellow radiance of these Gauguin trees.  Instead of feet that ache or stairs that lead someplace I don't much want to go, my blue suede shoes.  Instead of illness, debt, the loss of heart, those lovely growling cinnamon-brown bears conjured by Mary Oliver.  A shock of pink tutu instead of dreading the ballet recital.  The defiant purple pillows and cottonwood drum my mother bought herself after my father died.

And as a fine end to this reverie, I repeat (as I've surely done before) my favorite brightly colored quote from Jack Kerouac, which will scare off any remaining hobgoblins for at least one more night—

“Soon it got dusk, a grapy dusk, a purple dusk over tangerine groves and long melon fields; the sun the color of pressed grapes, slashed with burgundy red, the fields the color of love and Spanish mysteries.”
(Jack Kerouac, On the Road)


image:  Paul Gauguin, (French, Post-Impressionism, 1848-1903): By the Stream, Autumn, 1885, I Require Art


  1. oh ...
    so much in these last two posts touches my heart.
    too much to write here...
    but the defiant purple pillows your mother bought...
    i understood that in my very soul.
    and the glorious bonnard color of autumn! oh! does something totally different for my soul... where it's here not yet a sign of autumn color anywhere... and
    i read in a catalogue today of an old movie "big sur" ...
    about jack kerouac's when he lived there.
    i'm thinking i must find it now.

    1. The delights of color—thank you for sharing mine, and yours.