Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Go Big Orange

Life is full of surprises. That fact is one good reason to stick around. You never know what wonderful new thing might be coming.

Like the color orange, for instance. Suddenly, I love it. And that love is a zingy new surprise.

I'll back up a bit with two biographical facts about me.
1) I was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, home of the (Big Orange) Volunteers.
2) I'm about as pale as a person can be without being an albino.

These circumstances mean that I've seen enough of the color orange for a small lifetime and
that it doesn't look good on me anyway. The closest to orange I've ever worn is bright coral, which is more ethereal than warm or earthy. Earthy and I don't get along. I'm partial to and enhanced by icy cool or jewel tone colors, not shades of earth and plant and sun. Yellow, orange, green, and brown (all the hues my husband looks best in) have never appealed to me.

The came this fall. The first change I noticed was how much I was enjoying the orange-leafed trees when color time came along.
I chalked that phenomenon up to the droughty last few months, which reduced our usual riot to mostly russets and browns. Orange was about the only real color we had. I thought I was enjoying it because it was all there was.

Then, while antiquing, we saw a deep orange afghan draped on a vintage green porch swing. The color combination was quite striking, so striking in fact that I couldn't get it out of my mind for weeks. I even returned to the store to buy it later, but didn't see it.

Then, I went clothes shopping and found myself visually excited by a vivid orange satin top with a bold paisley print on it. It was a little big, but at $6.00, I bought it anyway just for the thrill. It's sumptuous texture and color excited my senses. I went with it.

They'll know I'm in the room!

Which led me back to the antique store shortly thereafter. I inquired about the afghan this time. The owner told me that it was hers, used for decoration only, but that if I wanted it, I could have it for $10.00. Sold, sister. I carried it home in my arms with more excitement and spread it across the back of our blue-and-cream sofa.

Every day, I enjoy the burst of color it makes. The salvage barn wood walls can be dark for an air-sign ice princess who normally paints every wall white. The gorgeous punch of my new treasure relieves the brown woodsiness, punches it in fact. I love the contrast with the navy throw pillows and the green side table.

It's just a blanket, one that will probably be out only for the fall season, but it enlivens my life and gives me pleasure each time I see it. And surprises me. I was very sure that I didn't like orange to wear or live with at all. Now, suddenly, I do. If a whole new portion of the rainbow can open up to me in my 43rd year, what other delightful, zippy surprises await? An undiscovered talent? Latent confidence? Surprising strengths?

Oooh, I can't wait to see!

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