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Color

By Anne Maxwell


I’ve been thinking a lot about color lately.


Or, rather, the lack thereof in my current pantone-deprived surroundings. On a recent harsh, late afternoon in early March, I look out the window, hoping the fading daylight might offer the tiniest hint of spring color.

But, like so many days before, I am disappointed in my quest. Winter still has a tight grip on things. I realize even a few days of sunshine can spur an awakening of the next season. But I also know I am not alone in my impatience. After slogging through several bleak, dreary and downright bone-chilling days, spring feels so close -- yet still so far.


I hate to sound poetic, but here goes.


I long for the bursts of bright, white pear blossoms that herald the arrival of warm, sunny days.

And I am seriously pining for the violet hues of creeping phlox. The royal tones of a hyacinth. Bold tulips, bubblegum-like blooms of crabapple trees.


I’d honestly take any flower in any color at this point. But, spring truly arrives for me when the daffodils open and the forsythia bushes branch out with spindles of sunshine. Both of these early blooms of spring are yellow. And not just any yellow -- but the glorious, golden perfection only Mother Nature can usher forth.


Truth be told, yellow is not my favorite color. Red has been my color since age 5, when I chose a crayon in the shade of scarlett to write my name on the wall of our playroom. I can still see the bold script and the satisfaction of how easy it was to see.


Don’t get me wrong. Yellow stands out, too. The eye-catching tone coats schools buses and construction vehicles, after all. But, it just doesn’t merit the place at the top of my list.


And I’m not alone.


A study back in 2012 by a University of Maryland sociologist found only 5 percent of men claimed yellow as their favorite. That figure went to only 6 percent for women. Blue was by far the most popular favorited for both men and women, green got the second-top nod for men, women chose purple.

Popularity contest aside, I’m beginning to root for this underdog. After an especially brutal winter that just won’t get the hint and leave, I know I am having a deeper appreciation for yellow.


This really should not come as a surprise to me, since I’m discussing a color whose psychology and meaning is happiness and optimism. That’s some serious street credit for a hue that scrapes the bottom of the popularity list. So, I’m thinking about giving it a higher personal ranking. I can’t even imagine the joy I will feel this year to see those sunny sights of the daffodil and forsythia.


It’s reminded me of someone else I once met who had a love for yellow.


On my first day on the job as a news reporter, I was told a reader had called with a feature idea about an elderly resident in a nearby small town who had been crocheting afghan blankets for nearly everyone in the community.


I’d long dreamed about what my first professional byline story would be. The afghan feature wasn’t exactly breaking-news or headline-grabbing material, but I grabbed a notebook and pen and headed down the road.


It turned out to be a great day.

We had a great time talking that sunny June day in her living room as “Jeopardy” played on the TV set in the background. It was clear that she loved creating something handmade for other people and her joy was evident as she showed me her array of colorful, cozy coverlets her weathered hands had borne.


When I asked her what her favorite color was, she didn’t hesitate for a moment.


“Yellow,” she said. “It makes me happy.”

Me, too.

The next time I decide to write my name on the wall, it’s not going to be in red.


Other contributions from Anne Maxwell:

Perfectly Imperfect

My Husband Dreads When the Calendar Turns March

 

 

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