"Not all those who wander are lost" J.R.R. Tolkien

Monday, February 14, 2011

Dathan (not pronounced the way it looks) is the Scottish Gaelic word for colors.  I've recently taken up learning this language for fun.  I know, I know, it sounds crazy.  I also made homemade crab ravioli yesterday, in an RV, without a pasta roller.  Three hours to make and seven minutes to eat but it did garner rave reviews from the men.  I'm a girl who doesn't like to be bored, needs a challenge and is goal-oriented.  However, this is not what I want to blog about.  Back to colors.

I'm not talking about the boring eight count box.  I'm talking about the fresh, flat-tipped, comes-with-its-own sharpener, all of them lined up like soldiers, made in America, old-fashioned 64 count Crayola Crayons.  Can you smell them?  That comfortingly waxy smell of hundreds of childhood hours spent creating refrigerator masterpieces?  Can you see them?  Can you remember the names?  As a child I had no frame of reference for the mysterious sounding names like sea foam, burnt sienna, raw umber, blue green and green blue.  Since learning my Gaelic list of colors I've been thinking about the colors I've seen.  I think it also has something to do with being in Florida where I have seen, for the first time, some of those Crayola colors.

I've seen the Atlantic from every side of Iceland and it was nearly always slate, the horizon sometimes meeting a sky the same shade, one becoming nearly indistinguishable from the other.  I've seen emerald in the grass of England and Scotland in the spring.  I've seen waves of daffodil yellow along the highway of France leading into Paris.  After living in Washington for two years I know why it is called the evergreen state.  I've seen black in a thunderhead rolling across the prairie and I've seen pure white clouds in a sky blue sky over that same prairie.  I know what marine blue is when I look at the ocean in southern California.  I now know what sea foam is, since coming to Florida.  It is the pale green water close to the shore line and just beneath the surface you can see tan sandbars and darker green seaweed.  I also understand why there were two different crayons for blue-green and green-blue because they are also shades of the sea as it progressively gets deeper.  I think whoever came up with burnt sienna and raw umber must have seen the various color striations in the bark of a coconut palm.

I found myself ruminating on the astonishing amount of "dathan" in the world as I ran over a two mile bridge this morning, the Gulf on my right, the Atlantic on my left and both meeting somewhere underneath me.  These colors are no "accidental design" and I firmly believe they were intentionally created for our visual pleasure.  Today we are headed down to Key West (the southern most point in the US) where I am certain to see more unmet colors as we plan to have supper there and then take in what we hear from the locals is the most spectacular sight in the Keys, a sunset.  I look forward to receiving this Valentine's love token from the Master Designer.  You, too, take a minute to look around.  It's a 64 count Crayon box out there.

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