Coloring Hope

Days are slowly drifting into nights, and nights into days.  Slowly is the operative word here.  Jet lag is a worthy opponent and is only beaten bit by bit.  Mid-day naps are no longer de rigeur, but I write this at night and sleep is far from my mind, which is fixated on color at this moment.

People have been asking me of my impressions of India after our short stay there, and I find myself leading with the word colorful.  Time and time again I would lift my eyes from gray street, or dirty near dead dog splayed across my path and a wash of magenta, crimson, and cobalt laying up against ochre hues would baptize my eyes anew.  Saris would bloom like lotuses in the mud brown streets of Mumbai, and the hawkers’ cries of “Please, sir! Buy, sir!” would fade against this shocking beauty.  The press of body against body as everybody made their way to train became, for a moment a distraction rather than a threat.  Color does that to me.  The color in Kerala in Southern India also took me in.  But my mind, in these southern memories, does not go first to saris even though these too were colorful, but to homes.

We spent a few days in rice patty country at a home stay.  Here we could walk along canals used to irrigate the rice fields.  These canals were fed by a broad river located just outside our converted granary’s window (or would that be ricery?).  We could take walks along these canal systems, where women would be washing clothes on the river rocks, and the children would delight at the opportunity to practice their English.  The poverty in this area was not quite so apparent, although clearly some homes were very basic.  But even the most humble abode was painted in bright colors.  From a distance, houses on canals would sit like birds in a tree, boasting their beauty and bidding us to take notice.  As we took note, my wife, youngest daughter and I all recalled how homes in some of the newer sections in certain cities in Canada are these days colored gray, or pale browns.  A car ride’s view while driving through some subdivisions is rather like the erasure of beauty.  I think also of my first impressions of dress in Toronto, some years back, where black bested every hue.  India seemed little interest in this sort of sophistication.  I had a similar impression of color in Newfoundland some years back.  A guide there told us that fishermen coming from sea would want to be able to make out their house as soon as possible as ocean’s horizon gave way to a glimpse of terra firma.  Perhaps some people are more aware of their need for hope than others.

I remain hopeful that I will again, one day, sleep through the night.  This is a rather modest hope in the face of this worlds’ pressing needs.  But every healthy hope bespeaks the greatest Hope of all, and in this time of the beginning of a new year, I hope for all a blessed year with safe journeys and rich remarkable home comings.

12 thoughts on “Coloring Hope

  1. shoreacres says:

    Welcome home! You’ve reminded me that, when I watched the film “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” it was the color that overwhelmed me: the crowds, the clothing, the buildings and the flowers, all in one great

    I suspect your impressions and memories are one big swirl now, too. That’s as it should be. I just saw that timeline: hours in transit, 26. Hours to go: 11. You need to recover.

    There is one thing I’m very interested in — Corin’s photo of the coastal erosion mitigation in Mumbai. I have a friend in Ecuador who lives in a village that’s disappearing into the sea, and they’re desperately trying to find a way to mitigate the erosion. If it works in India, why not in Ecuador? If there’s a website, or other information, I’d love to know about it. But there’s no rush, and I’ll go exploring myself now that I have that clue..

    Happy New Year!

    • agjorgenson says:

      Hi there, yes it is a bit of a swirl, especially since we are beginning a new term! But the body is slowly catching up with the clock, so there is hope. As for the anti-erosion program, we just happened to be walking along that bit of the beach and took photos. There wasn’t a plaque or any such thing. Good luck with the research!

  2. dianerivers says:

    Welcome back! And thank you for sharing all your “colorful” observations. I love the idea of the brightly hued homes communicating the need for hope. (I feel somehow cheated now that my house has gray siding!) Hang in there with the jet lag – it’s a beast, but one that does eventually succumb. Here’s to your “rich remarkable homecoming”!

    • agjorgenson says:

      I have also seen some rather colorful homes on Native American reserves, There is, of course, nothing wrong with gray houses. But when whole new subdivisions are nothing but, then I hope for more color! The jet lag, thankfully, is lagging!

  3. Marie Taylor says:

    Thanks for sharing your impressions of this memorable trip. The colors of hope – nice.

  4. jannatwrites says:

    Welcome back! I’ve never been to India but I love color. There are some colorful buildings in the southwest US- terra cotta, turquoise, shades of green… but there is a lot of brown, too.

    • agjorgenson says:

      Nothing wrong with brown, which can in fact be very invigorating in certain hues. I find the Southwest to be quite colorful, and really lovely in many ways. My in-laws winter in Juma and absolutely love it there.

  5. nicolaramsey says:

    Not exactly on topic, but I thought you might like this facebook post from Jann Arden about the celestial “cloud”-

    • agjorgenson says:

      Well, topics are overrated anyway. An interesting post, and a theme that surely is comforting for those of us who have seen parents slip away into dementia – the idea that what makes them them is safe in divine keeping. Another way to get at hope, and so we are back on topic!

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