Craving Color: Painting the World Orange

This time of year is dangerous driving weather for me.

There’s so much going on. The trees are all changing colors, and there are so many different shades within those colors. I can count five different yellows. Not to mention the flaming scarlet, orange tinged with pink, warm browns against ashy browns. And by the time one tree completely drops its leaves, another one’s color deepens, and so any given landscape changes multiple times within a week. It’s dizzying.

I’m usually someone who’s drawn to more cool tones. Blues and grays are my lifeblood. When I do my laundry, all the clothes match each other. So it’s funny that in this season of riotous color, I feel drawn to the burning orange and spicy red and melting yellow. I’ve even—gasp—bought a few pieces of clothing in bright, rich colors that are totally out of my character.

I first noticed this color craving several weeks ago, before the leaves had even begun to turn. I got this insatiable urge to paint everything in my life orange. It was weird; like I said, my belongings are a tidy collection of blues, grays, browns, and off-whites. Sometimes I’ll go crazy and buy something burgundy. But I kept being drawn to orange. I noticed it in everything, my eyes locked onto every scrap of it, and I savored it like I was eating a visual chocolate cake.

Again: weird. Soon I began to wonder if this craving for the color orange was a subconscious craving for something else. I don’t mean to get all metaphysical, but I do know that colors speak to us, across time, across cultures. Color symbolism and color theory are fascinating to me, because while we might all perceive color slightly differently, there is still so much meaning that is shared and universal. For all the things we disagree on as humans, we can all, millions of us, still agree that certain colors mean certain things.

So on a whim I did some research. Orange is commonly thought to symbolize balance, joy,  warmth, energy, and enthusiasm. It’s a fun color, not as aggressive as red but not as calm and laid back as yellow. In some cultures, orange has ties to spirituality and is reserved for monks or priests.

Learning all this was sort of spooky, because my theory that there was something more to being drawn to a color was proven correct. Orange, and all it represents, was what I wanted to be more of. I was coming out of a season of transition, restlessness, confusion, and stagnation. And suddenly I was waking up every morning wanting to feel different, wanting to literally paint my life orange.

With this in mind, I’ve been trying to cultivate more orange-like attitudes in the past few weeks. I want to have balance in my life between enjoying the moment and working for the future. I want to have joy and enthusiasm. I want to be warm in my heart and warm to others. I want to be connected to the spiritual side of things and not merely stay stuck in the mindsets of the physical. I want to burst with creativity, fun, health, and vibrancy. I’ve also been trying to create little pops of orange in my life by adding in new and unfamiliar experiences. This doesn’t come easy to me, but it does reap a lot of joy.

As autumn deepens and the world starts to actually look how I wanted to paint it, I find myself drawn to other colors too. Rich plum, brilliant emerald, and that delicious melting yellow. Perhaps I’ll do some research on those colors as well. Who knows what I could learn from them?

Weekend Pith: Cleaning Slates

I always switch gears a little once September is about to come around. Obviously, that’s usually because school is starting, and even though my grad school is set up a little differently, there’s still a definite summer’s end and fall’s beginning. Should my plans for teacherhood pan out, my life will always be this way.

And I don’t really mind; Autumn is my favorite season, and I take joy in pausing and rerouting, in digging down and musing. Autumn always means a return to both physical coziness and heightened mental work. I love the interaction between the two.

This fall, I’m switching gears from my summer writing projects to my very different school-time one. Sometimes the transition can be jarring. I’m going from my work on a heady, multi-faceted mystery to continuing my draft of a more creative children’s novel. 

Obviously, this is a huge change, so every time I make the jump from adult lit to kid lit and back again, I let myself take a week off. I don’t work on any big writing projects. 

Of course, I periodically take unnofficial breaks in my writing, more than I’d like to admit. But this one is different. This is a break to make a break. This is a break to retool my mind, to pack up the old work and bring in the newer-old work. This break creates a separation and clean slate so I’m fresh and strong again.

Lots of things in life need little breaks, sometimes. I’ve taken breaks socially, spiritually, educationally, the list goes on. And I think it’s important to remember that sometimes the presence of a break does not mean the erasing of a certain part of your self, or a rejection of and falling away from what you are. Sometimes a break is just that, a separation and clean slate so you’re fresh and strong again.

Remember to take breaks. 

Allegheny Autumn

Happy Thursday folks!

Today I wanted to share yet another Autumn poem. You must be tired of those. But honestly! I could write forever about the richness that is Fall. So here is

 

Allegheny Autumn

 

The sky is gray like dirty ice

and mars the sunlight into something

pale and pure and gray.

 

Rain falls as it may care to fall

and settles on the leaves of trees.

Emerald turning yellow.

 

The smell is crisp and peppery,

the pleasant scent of petrichor

rolling through the green.

 

The air is cool, but warm beneath

unlike the spring, when roles reverse,

back again in Autumn.

 

The sky is gray like dirty ice,

a conq’ring king soon to invade

pale and pure and gray.

 

Autumn

Hello Everyone!

I hope your September has been well. Classes have been keeping me busy, and I’ve been writing a lot of poetry for my English classes, which is absolutely lovely.

leaves on lawn
I’ve never really thought of myself as a poet, always more of a novelist or short story writer. And those are still my favorite forms.

But lately I am finding that a poem is elegant, eloquent, a little trinket of thought to put away or give away.

So, in the spirit of Autumn, which every year I realize to be my favorite season, I offer you:

Endings

 

Summer must end, you know.

The green that carpets

the earth must fade,

and the leaves 

must fall

down.

 

Dry, brown, scutt’ling about,

bunched in heaps like trash,

crunching, crackling,

twisted dry

dying

leaves.

 

The sky must lose its hue,

grow washed of color,

melt into gray, 

until it

looks so

cold.

 

The air must become ice,

cold and creeping up

like fear or fright,

like dread or

like death.

Ice.

 

The flowers must fall, and

the grass must dry out,

the creatures must 

hide away

or go

South.

 

The rains must come quickly,

drowning the world in

cold, wet, flood of

misery,

frozen.

Wet.

 

The colors of the world

must die like a star,

Bright. Brill’iant. Blast.

Then black, white,

no shade,

bland.

 

Summer must end, you know.

It must even die. 

How then, tell me,

can it be

lovely,

death?

 

Thanks for reading!

Hannah

(Poem by Hannah Allman. Photography by Hannah Allman.)