Grayness chews away the scarlets, golds and tangerines, painting me blue--not the pretty kind of blue--cornflower or azure, for instance--the cruel kind. The kind that seeps into your fingers as they wiz through still air and slam the snooze button, and into your toes the moment they tap against the chilled floor boards. The kind of blue that latches onto your skin and tugs it further and further to the floor. The kind you feared when monsters lived under your bed. Even though you couldn't quite confront them eye-to-eye, you knew they feasted on the fibers beneath the mattress, waiting for the precise time to crawl out and consume you.
This blue usually makes his first appearance the second week of October. Due to some unforeseen delay--at least so far as I can tell--he's arriving late this year. I'm happy that he spared me a few extra weeks of color, but now that he is slowly leaking into my life, everything seems to be heavier. Winter has so many days, and bright skies and bare skin seem oh-so-far-away.
I wish I loved the cold. I wish I could find joy in the gray. I wish could swat away the blue. But mostly, I wish I could reach out my arms and squeeze the sun. I wish I could run barefoot through the grass. I wish I could dip my brush in tempera and flail it around like a pinwheel, spinning faster and faster until gallons of pigment swallow the blue, imbuing the grayness with bright, splattered perfection.
Midst a bout of wishing, I realized I could--figuratively of course. Pulling out words--quotes, excerpts, poems--I let the letters fly like a stampede of wildebeests, stirring me like a rumble in the savannah. When I reached Dale Carnegie, he made me stop and reread. He changed the direction of my wind.
"It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about," he said.
I promptly hopped on the wings of a bird. I soared into cornflower skies. Blazing rays caressed my skin as I dove between saplings. My eyes burned as color invaded them.
Then I blinked.
My husband was next to me. We were riding elephants. Lions thundered in the distance and they made the earth tremble. We were laughing in the face of danger, consuming life with the full force of adventure.
Then I blinked.
My kitchen table spread out before me--dinner begging for transport to the refrigerator, mail yearning to be read, papers screaming to be graded, keys waiting to be loved, to be touched, to be transformed into something useful, something more. I ignored my other to-dos, and then I pressed the plastic letters, watching images come to life.
A smile tugged at each edge of my lips. Joy scaled the walls of my gut, reaching the summit of my brain, and the promise of tomorrow began to spit rounds of color--we're talking a machine gun of pigment. When the attack ceased, I suddenly realized the winter was a little bit sunnier and the gray was suddenly gone.