March 13, 2012

in search of color

I've come to an interesting realization this week. With the sun shining with that bright yellow, summer-is-on-the-way kind of hue and the plants starting to bud out everywhere, I've been feeling unexpectedly happy. I had been attributing this happiness to a number of things- having more time to write, the end of the year in sight, creeping closer by the day, new yarn (because yarn always makes me happy). And I'm sure that all of those things are contributing factors, but there's something more to it than that.
This winter has been hard for me. Probably the hardest I've been through. I've had days where I really didn't want to get out of bed, days that verged on depression, days that probably were depression. That's very unlike me. I'm sort of the consummate glass is half full girl. There are always good things about life. And again, Will was busy and the apartment felt small and life in the city in the winter takes some getting used to, but there was something more that was getting me down.

Having spent about half of my life in places that are famously rainy and gray, I'm used to dull winters with no sun. I've never suffered, as many Oregonians do, from Seasonal Affective Disorder. I actually like the low contrast light of a rainy day. But what I'm not used to, I realized, is the colorlessness that winter in New York brings.
You'd think there would be plenty of color here and in a way, there is. Shop windows, umbrellas, high heeled rainboots that cost as much as two weeks groceries. But looking at the big picture, at the landscape of the city in winter, there is an utter lack of color. Gray sidewalks, gray streets, gray bare trees, black coats, black roads, black shoes, gray buildings, gray sky, gray light. The difference between the dull, all consuming gray of New York and the soft pleasant gray winters of Oregon is the green.

Even in the middle of winter Oregon, and Ireland for that matter, is green. Blindingly green. The trees and the bushes and the grass is green. The moss that builds up on the sides of trunks and buildings and fences from all the damp is a violent, bright green. Green is everywhere. Any beyond green, the houses and doors are brightly colored, almost as a little f-you to the long rainy months.
I need color. I buy flowers and plants and pin Evelyn's ever-brighter drawings all over the house. I crave color. There's not enough of it out there yet. Pops of yellow, little bits of purple. bunches of orange and red and pink tulips outside the markets. But it helps. Every day it gets a little bit greener, a little bit more colorful, and I find myself smiling at nothing in particular much more of the time.

Does winter get you down? How do you cope when it does? It's interesting to be realizing it from the other side, wondering what would have made things easier (Green walls?)