Column: Eat, Sleep, Read: Colour and contrast

What do your eyes see?

Do you remember the first day of Grade 1? My memory of this day is fuzzy, with one exception. I had in my possession a brand new box of crayons; not just an eight-pack either. I had never had a big box of crayons all to myself, so when the teacher handed out our very first cut and paste sheet to colour, I thought I was in heaven. (I swear I can still smell the wax and freshly mimeographed paper).

It got me thinking about a drive I took through the interior of our province a few months ago. Travelling through a beautiful, sun-filled fall day I had to keep removing my sunglasses just to soak it all in. The brilliant gold of the aspens, poplars and birches glowed against the striking cornflower blue sky. The landscape was alive. Knowing, of course, that summer was finished and these warm, blue-sky days would not last, I began thinking about colour and in turn, contrast. For so many months, our world is grey on black on white — the tones of winter. This spectacularly short season of incredible colour seems so short in comparison.

I stayed outdoors the following day, valiantly trying to absorb as much as I could of this vivid eye candy and the lovely, therapeutic rays of sunshine. Good thing too. The next day I was met with cool, drizzly weather not fit for a duck (or a Canada goose for that matter). The day after that, I woke to a blanket of the frosty white stuff. Yes, really, in October. Ah, the seasons of Canada.

I began to wonder about how colour impacts our lives. There are theories out there, colour therapies and design trends. I think in the end, adding some colour to our cold, grey and somewhat lengthy winter can only be a good thing. Like seeing those first daffodils in spring, colour does a heart good. For some vibrant inspiration, take a look at In the mood for colour by Hans Blomquist, Container Theme Gardens by Nancy J. Ondra (dream your perfect plant combos for summer) and for a home-grown experience savour the contrasts in Okanagan Orchards, photos by our own Jeremy Hiebert.

Sue Kline is the community librarian of the Summerland Branch of the ORL and quite partial to green.

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