I recognized the effects of color one winter when I bought a bag of lemons–before they were priced out of my league. I had them in a bowl in the kitchen, and I noticed that I was drawn to keep looking over at them. The little shock of glossy yellow was comforting. I got a similar effect from a heap of limes and tomatoes I purchased for salsa, chili, and spaghetti ingredients. My groceries were doing double duty as medicine for the soul.
I observed something else during the drab, frozen days when darkness closed in before five and a bleary dawn held off until almost nine the next morning. Movies I watched piecemeal on the treadmill were a real mood lifter. Even a few minutes of absorption in a drama not my own made a difference. Of course watching movies was a far more sophisticated solution than buying a bag of fruit. But viewing life in faraway places–where the sun always shone, a gentle breeze ruffled lovely dresses, green lawns stretched alluringly, ladies took walks in rose gardens, and characters conferred under trees where the light through the foliage made fretted patterns in the grass–had healing properties that made me glad for the technology that provided luxurious escape.
I saw, too, that a simple photo could hold my attention a little longer than was wonted in non-winter seasons. Pictures online of San Diego’s Balboa Park under blue skies, palm trees with ocean backdrop, a zoo excursion that I could tell took place on a glittering, balmy day, all filled me with longing and yet were strangely soothing.
My bright, pine-ceilinged dining room, when the colors of the curtains were still crisp and we displayed the custom stonework to good effect, was a source of comfort. Each stroke of color, gentle or bold, gave me a corresponding lift when I looked at it. Today I was able to find photographic evidence to share with you. The first picture shows the room at its best, on a rare sunny day. Even the vintage glass fire extinguisher still speaks to me in its sharp red tones. The second photo captures a variegated bouquet of autumn leaves I had gathered before ten days of winter weather had set in. I still see why I wanted it on my kitchen table, why I photographed it, and why I shared the picture with friends. Even one vase of natural colors can stave off winter’s discontent.