I have been thinking about color this week. This old house is painted dark brown with a cream-colored trim. As with all of the houses in this land-marked neighborhood, those are palette-approved colors. We can only paint the outside of the house a color it has been historically or an historical color found elsewhere in the park. There are a couple of places in the house where one can see the original outside colors: a gray  from a later addition and the original light yellow. Those spots are hidden in cupboards or below the sink in the bathroom-that-used-to-be-the-side-porch. The colors are not in good shape and, under other circumstances, should be painted over but because they are historical remnants, last bits of color photographs of the history of this old house, they will be left as is.

Other buildings in the neighborhood are green, gray, white or beige. Years ago, a house nearby was painted red. When the granddaughter moved into it several years ago, she took it back to that red. It was so startling compared to the muted tones on the approved palette that most of us thought the Landmark Board “police” would show up quickly. Only those who remembered it being that color decades ago knew that it was OK. Later, the house was sold and taken back to a beige. It almost felt like a rebellion had been put down.

Outside, we have the dull colors of not-fully-winter/not-yet-spring. Where the snow has melted in the powerful Chinooks that have been blowing this week, the ground looks gray-green, lifeless brown, mashed down. The snow that is left in wind-blasted patches is dirty or icy gray. This afternoon, gray clouds came over the mountains, blotting out the sun. They don’t seem to be actively bringing a storm at this point. All they have done is make everything look more subdued in hue.

In the midst of this, there are crocus and snow drops popping out on the south side of the Administration building. Because the parking lot is close by as well as it being on the south side, there is a lot of warmth there that triggers the bulbs to bloom earlier than elsewhere in the neighborhood. We can always count on seeing the first flowers of spring, as we head in to get our mail each day.

Today, I read a magazine that emphasized the colors of spring. Seeing navy blue walls with white trim as a re-decorating suggesting was refreshing, yet almost disturbing at some level. At the end of February, here in Colorado, the intensity of color was nearly too much to take in. Our entire house, with a few exceptions, is wrapped in windows so what wall spaces are left above and below those windows are painted white. That bank of windows brings the colors of Mother Nature boldly into the house.

Color is a gift. Each of us responds to it in different ways. I believe that the colors we are attracted to, in some way, reflect ourselves. For example, timid people tend not to wear loud, bright colors. Our lives are also painted from the palette of our experiences and those experiences reflect back to the world in our faces. Some have had big brush strokes slash their canvas; others have had delicate pastels touching their life.

If you were to paint your life, what colors would you use? Why? Are those colors reflected in your living environment? Do you need a new color reflected somewhere? The bulbs are waking up; let’s join them!