I’ve read somewhere that dreaming in color is indicative of a creative mind. Not only have I never seen night time images in Kodachrome, but of late I don’t even dream much anymore which is probably related to the fact that as I age I don’t sleep for long stretches of time anymore. I am growing older and I come from a time far different than today. I was a small child when television was in its infancy. The programs that we watched on those tiny screens inside wooden boxes were in lovely shades of black, white and gray. We couldn’t even imagine that there would one day be an NBC peacock. We were as content to tune in to those colorless shows as we were to see images of ourselves in mostly black and white photographs. We were still a very long way from so many of the advances that now seem to be par for the course. The progress that we have made is good, as it should be. Those of us in our senior years are nostalgic but our reverie should not include a desire to return to outmoded ways of doing things.
I remember the great anticipation that ensued when the television series Bonanza became one of the first programs to feature living color. It was an exciting time even for those of us who did not yet own color televisions. Just knowing that someone, somewhere was seeing the green trees and blue skies of the Ponderosa was thrilling. We had entered a whole new world that would only become more and more brilliantly hued over the ensuing years.
It is all too appropriate that our modern day images be filled with a spectrum of reds and yellows and blues mixed together to create greens and purples and oranges. Life is a magnificent rainbow that includes the glorious variety of nature and mankind. There is a beauty in diversity that is never found in the dull sameness of black and white. We are all part of a colorful world that we should embrace but sometimes neglect or even refuse to do.
Just as we didn’t have color photographs or television back when I was very young we humans had a tendency to isolate ourselves from those whose skin appeared different from ours. We convinced ourselves that our ways were normal but in reality we must have known that it was not right to judge anyone without ever getting to know them. Eventually we allowed ourselves to be neighbors and friends with individuals of many different colors. We learned that we had been missing so much and that life was more vibrant and lovely than we had ever before imagined.
When I was just a girl I thought that I would never know anyone who was gay or a lesbian, but I was wrong. As those with differing sexual preferences began to bravely reveal themselves I learned that some of my friends and relatives alike belonged to a world that had once seemed so confusing to me but now seems so perfectly normal. The rainbow flag of the LGBT community is a beautiful thing that represents love. I wonder how we ever could have believed that caring relationships between any two people was anything other than beautiful.
With inventiveness and acceptance we have entered a brighter world filled with possibilities that seemed not to exist when I was young. We have shown that blending hues together is interesting and inclusive. The days of our ignorance should be gone but sadly they are not. Just as it would seem ludicrous to find someone still watching television from a small box with only shades of gray, it should be just as ridiculous to continue to harbor outdated thinking that is cruel, unforgiving and without reason.
As a Christian I was always taught that God makes each of us in His own image and likeness. If we reflect on that idea we realize that God is telling us that every one of His creations is wondrous and perfect. He loves us without conditions and wants us to feel the same. He sent His son to teach us how to behave. Unfortunately some of us never really understood the messages that Jesus made so clear. Not once did He preach that we should spurn those who are not like us. He often went out of His way to embrace those who were outcasts of society. I interpret His actions as meaning that the rules are very simple. We must love everyone, even those who appear to be or think differently. It’s not really that difficult to do. It doesn’t even take much practice. It just requires suspending all restrictions and coloring outside of the lines. We have to break the old rules to follow the new rules which are far more right and just.
Once we experience the colors of the world there is no turning back. We burst out of the boxes that have constricted us and see the watercolors that make life so much more enjoyable. We begin to realize that we only see different hues because of the way our eyes are processing the light. Being able to see the true appeal of all of the world is a gift that makes us feel more joyful. Without the great big box of crayons life would indeed be dull.
Winter has always been symbolic of death. With its withering and limited palette of variations in light it has a certain beauty but none as breathtaking as the riotous colors of spring, a time of life and renewal. We can choose the end of the seasons or the hopeful beginning. It us up to each of us to see the full spectrum of life and rejoice in it.
I am often saddened in knowing that we still have many people who are unwilling to change but I’d like to believe that they are more and more often becoming the minority among us. Slowly but surely we are shining the light on a more beautiful way of living. Because our young have always been more willing to take risks and embrace adventure, they are leading the way to more colorful tomorrows and that is good. Perhaps one day the pallid world of old will be housed in an ancient junkyard and all of us will view life in color.