Notes: On Color in Spring

M. Mair, Flowers in the Sunset, Original Art

Margaret Mair, Flowers in the Sunset, Original Art

Seasons are not the same everywhere.

I grew up in a place without Spring – or winter. The closest thing to spring was the coming of the May rainy season, when grass grew greener and the poui trees lost their leaves and burst into flower for a short while; when, if all went well, the reservoirs filled; when the sweet sop was ripening and we looked forward to buying bunches of guineps from roadside stalls.

So when I moved to this northern place both spring and winter were a revelation, strange and cold and beautiful.

My first real winter was an adventure in learning about cold and snow and the shortness of days and the slipperiness of ice underfoot. Unaccustomed to months of short days and much time spent indoors, to rising to dark mornings, and nights that fell before the day’s activities were done, I welcomed my first Spring with joy and appreciation. There was a sense that life was expanding again, and we would enjoy the return of green and sun and warmth.

I remember sitting outside on damp, green grass with my books, “studying”, enjoying being in the barely-warm sun with my friends. It was time to breathe deeply and stretch out again, to shed coats and boots and dream of summer clothes and sandals. We were re-emerging from the clutch of winter and the depths of indoor life to the freshness, openness and changing colors of outdoors.

It took me a while to be aware of the many different colors of spring. The yellow-greens and deep reds of buds, the browns and greens of new branches, the deeper brown of mud, the gritty grey and lacey black of disappearing, smutty roadside snow. The coy blues of the periwinkles, the fragrant purple of the lilacs, the sunny yellows of the forsythia and the dandelions. The evergreens seemed a softer green. When the spring rains came they washed the air clean and made the new leaves shine.

And when the sun went down it added its sunset colors to the colors of the day.

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