Orange You Glad?

Orange IMG_1545

Oviedo, FL: I’m part of a group that is assigned a fun little challenge daily. Yesterday that challenge was Orange. Nothing else. Could be a story about orange, a photo, a drawing, the taste of orange, anything. Obviously the photo/story combo appealed to me.

I took to the sidewalks of my neighborhood in search of orange.

Orange is a showy color. It demands attention. It does not hide beneath a shell to be revealed piece by piece at a later time, it is the shell. Look at me! Orange is both a warning and an invitation. Play at your own risk.

Orange IMG_1556

Long associated with creativity, orange energizes and sparks the imagination. It puzzles me why so many prison systems choose orange for their attire. I’m assuming so the inmates are easier to spot and track. But wouldn’t the very color of their clothes, the thing they look at everyday when they look at each other, or worse, when they don’t make eye contact and look directly into the face of orange, energize them in a not so useful way?

In nature bright colors often serve as warnings to others: don’t eat me, don’t poke me, don’t mess with me. Maybe it works the same way with humans.

At the same time saffron robes are worn by Tibetan monks and many Siddhus in India (wandering holy men). In the Hindu and Buddhist traditions orange is often thought to be the color of illumination. In Confucianism the color represents transformation. Orange is akin to fire and fire is both illuminating and transforming.
Whatever the case, hunting orange was an exercise in presence and awareness. As I left my house I found a few trees with orange leaves and a sign that read “Tree Work Ahead.” But as I continued my quest so many other orange objects came into focus, things I would normally miss; delicate orange flowers tucked into a garden in someone’s front yard, an open acorn, the tassel at the end of my mala. Even after I had collected my “oranges” I continued to spot the nuances of orange in everything. As the sun set the whole world around me glowed orange for just a split second.

Prison clothes or monks robes, orange to me is a happy, energizing, creative color. Best in small doses. Best found in nature.

If I had to guess, I bet you’ll be seeing a lot of orange today.

[Full disclosure: I’m the one who comes up with the challenges on a daily basis for this group. But, when I do, I have no idea how they will manifest for me.]

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