I have always been fascinated with shades. Not the kind you wear, though I like them, too. But I’m talking about the miniscule nuances of hued variation across the pallette of the universe.
When I was, oh, about this high, I loved crayons better than anything except my dog. My sister came in a close third.
My favorite color in the whole world was magenta. I used to pour all 64 crayons out of the box. I am sorry to report to you that I never graduated to 96; it seems my adoptive mother promised me she’d buy me the BIG box if I could go a whole day without being naughty. I’m fifty-four years old and I haven’t earned my box of 96 crayons yet.
Anyway, I’d dump all the crayons on the table and line them up by their color. I loved seeing how they seemed to fade into one another.
Rainbows have a similar effect on me. I am mesmerized, breathless every time I see a full rainbow. It’s as if I’ve never seen one before. We’ll be driving down the interstate and I’ll see one, and I’ll yell, “Pull over! There’s a rainbow!”
Shades. 286 million colors, or thereabouts. Colors are musical notes on light, shimmering pitches and tones.
What I mostly like about colors, though, is how they mix and blend and dance together. Even the sky isn’t just one solid blue. There are few things in the universe that are solid colored – most of nature are textures, subtle blends of many, many colors.
Why would people be any different?
I am not a single texture, a single shade. I am a blending of many colors. The light shifts and part of me sparkles and part of me slips into a shadow. The light shifts again, and other parts dance or sing or cry or pout. How exciting to be a rainbow!
And if I as an individual am multi-toned, and you as an individual are multi-toned, don’t you reckon our society might also be multi-toned?
We are full of nuances, and the nuances don’t always look balanced. Sometimes they appear to be contradictions, and I suppose sometimes they are contradictions. But more times than not, I wonder if the light is just dancing on us differently from moment to moment.
Color cannot exist apart from light. It simply does not know how to be without light.
And so one moment I may appear very sober, analytical, perhaps even speculative. Another moment I may seem silly, irreverent, feisty. Which one is the real me?
Which one is the real you?
Sometimes I get out a coloring book and my box of crayons and pour them on the table. I line them up into a spectrum. And then I laugh silly and mix them all up and just grab whatever color is closest to me.
I still like magenta the best.
Shades of Evening
written and played by Kit Duncan on
Duncan & Son Zigatar
Wingsong Flute (tenor G)
Piper Tweak Whisperin’ Whistle (B flat)