My plan the past few days has been to focus on words, not specifically color and the BlackBerry photographs I love as I continue to ponder winter red, its hot passion and cool rage. I haven’t been reading as much as I want to lately, but, as I am beginning to pick up my books again, I remember how much I love them. From the glossy cover I temporarily remove to inspect the binding and replace on its cardboard edges to its birch-like papery smell, I love the possibilities of story and phrase I know I will encounter within its pages.
Thinking about red as I run, I stop suddenly to where red berries previously dangled from stems that are now emptied and orange.
It is Autumn moving to Winter, and orange is ever on the edge, the color of the setting sun and the flesh of autumn fruit.
Today, I am orange, the color of autumn leaves, pumpkins, and berries yellowing like crowns of reddening trees and golden tomatoes.
Rain splatters on the roof as I write, sounding like the clattering of soles on concrete.
Things that Are Orange
Stems on bushes that were red just one week ago, tempered like anger.
My fallen pine needles in patches that cushion my path in mats of loomed carpet.
The bark that peels from birch trees like ripped pockets on jeans.
The flesh of the butternut squash where my knife becomes stuck.
Pumpkins on grey steps where I hesitantly move towards, taking photographs as I can’t find any in my supermarket.
The long-sleeved cotton shirt from my costumed Monster Ball fundraiser fun run that I wash separately the first time so its dye doesn’t bleed to my other gorgeous fabrics.
Cones in construction zones.
The sundress I wear today in 40 degree temperatures with a purple sweater to cover my shoulders.
The Winter Solstice is exactly one month from today when the lengthening of nights and shortening of days reverse, and the Sun’s ebbing presence begins the long process of returning to Earth through deep Winter.
Still, the nights continue to deepen, and wind bites, the cold air burning my face like scalding water. Crisp leaves crunch beneath my step like the snapping of fresh vegetables and boots stomping on gravel. Clicking pencils in my pocket are the rubbing legs of late summer grasshoppers as I run, jostling them. The sun’s glare bleeds color into the desiccated environment.
The sun’s glare bleeds color into the desiccated environment.
Suddenly, I see reds and crimsons, scarlet and ruby everywhere, the vivid red of my bloody knee after a spectacular fall. The varieties of overwintering berries tremble in wind gusts like apples in boiling water. Fallen apples, holding death and rebirth within, lay on the ground beneath the knotted limbs of trees. Matchstick branches embroider bands of red on the desolate environment, and cherry sacs hang on root-like tendrils next to sturdy evergreens. Pansies in velvet, low to the ground, pull me to my knees.
In grey and brown, pops of spicy red chili heat up the cold.
The early cold snap in October robbed many leaves of obvious and striking color, but in grey, color still exists. I lace up my running shoes and head out the door, and on foot, I see pops of color…today, the reds…everywhere.
I awake early for my run once again, and I head out the door to cold to find a heavy fog whitening predawn’s black. The fog hovers before black and grey air like my Lincoln Park hummingbird at her tubular purple flowers, the contrast of dark and light most evident in this inky hour.
Temperatures in the 20’s mean that this thick mist has probably frozen to some ground surfaces, so I must take each stride carefully. The unknown is not unfamiliar territory for me, so I know to run only the moment, the step that is just before me.
I almost slip on the street’s blacktop surface, so I move from curbside to sidewalk, its grey texture taking the freezing fog differently. It is easier to run on this sidewalk, a different kind of concrete.
Fallen maple leaves have frozen on concrete, so I still attend to my steps. Maple leaves are slippery, wet or frosty, though when dried and crushed look like piles of pencil shavings.
My pumpkin–colored pine needles frozen in place resemble the yellowish pollen-stained puddles of Spring and anchor my footing.
I jump over ice cubes on frozen mud and dirt paths like I am skipping on summertime’s sidewalk-chalk hopscotch patterns drawn on streets by playing children, and pine needles and maple leaves show their lighter side on dark gravel. I pick up my pace.
Trees’ roots counterpoise sidewalks, the height differences accentuated by frosty moss, pine needles, and leaves, their cement outcrops playing fog layers over fields.
Senescent leaves cover the ground, and trees’ buds of Spring lie dormant above. An apple falls, and harvest fields die, crushed beneath the unwavering Wheel of Seasons that sets and moves the hands of the circadian clock.
I have to admit it has not been easy for me to arise early this morning, knowing that a blast of cold is just outside the door. Still, I lace up my running shoes and am once again glad to have gone out, reminded and amazed at the variety of color, light, and shadow that exists, even within dark.