bright color

It’s been an unusually white winter but gloriously so. The snow is powdery, therefore it seems even whiter than ever. It brought to mind an experience I had years ago: a revelation about color which I will frame in a story:

I had traveled to Finland for a bicycle trip. I was in my teens and didn’t know much about northernmost part of that country; I realized after the fact that there was a reason for this – there is very little there. It’s white all winter and scrubby tundra in the summer – one highway that turns to dirt road.

However, against this very neutral or blank white backdrop, one would chance upon a small village occupied by native Laplanders who all stood out because of their clothing. They favored red, but other colors were woven into the designs for even more colorful effect. Add to that the light – the slant of the sun in the very northern parts of the world, and the sight was magical – the colors were brilliant.

I could not resist. I bought a handcrafted Lap coat and brought it back to Virginia. To my great disappointment, the same coat, the same colors just did not “glow” in the southern US in the summer. The colors looked dull, flat. I did not have the tundra or snow. And I didn’t have the slanted light of the sun that brings out that startling color.

But here – it’s winter in New England. The sun is low. Snow is everywhere. You can see how the colors in one of my color charts play against that. You can see how appealing color can be when there is white all around.