Autumn Colors

I stopped working and leaned on the shovel I had been using to dig carrots. My garden was well on its way to being put to ‘bed’ for the winter. Arnie, my husband looked up from where he was working and commented, “Today is a perfect fall day.”

Nodding, I looked around. Clouds blanketed the sky. It felt warm, yet not too warm. A hint of coolness hovered around the edges. Night time temperatures the past week had been chilly. Our lush, green, freshly mowed lawn around the house contrasted beautifully with the deep burgundy sumac along our yard’s second driveway. I exclaimed, “Arnie, just look at how beautiful the sumac is today.”

My husband straightened up and looked. After a moment of silence, he asked, “What am I supposed to be seeing?”

I prompted, “The red leaves. Aren’t they pretty?”

When Arnie shook his head and denied seeing red leaves, I suddenly remembered he’d made certain comments in the past that made me realize he was unable to perceive the full spectrum of colors as I do. My husband was apparently partially color blind.

An article I read about colorblindness stated that men are more likely to experience partial colorblindness than do women. Trouble seeing the color red and green is most common. Complete colorblindness is rare. It occurs in only 1 person out of 30,000 births.

I can’t imagine what it must be like to be totally colorblind. Movies and television shows were once only in black and white, but a person could walk away from watching them and still work at jobs where distinguishing colors is necessary. The article I read listed a dozen jobs that required the ability to see colors.

Distinguishing colors is important in our private lives. A person needs to see the color of traffic lights and bright signs that warn of nearby dangers. When in a grocery store, we need to see the true color of the fruits, vegetables and meat we buy.

In the past, Colorology, also known as Chromotherapy, was a type of alternative medicine. Proponents claimed surrounding a patient with certain colors could “balance” emotional, physical, spiritual, or cognitive “energy” in which an individual was deficient. Health experts regard this ‘science’ as quackery.

Some people believe the color we like the best indicates the type of personality we possess. I love several colors. The brighter they are, the better. I wonder what this tells about my personality?

Another study showed color has a strong psychological effect on mood, emotion and behavior. Businesses use what has been discovered from this knowledge so colors used in waiting rooms, stores, on advertisement and product design are not used by mere chance. Emotion is a large, often unconscious component in decision making.

For women, one interesting study of color matches a woman’s wardrobe colors to her skin tone. The original premise is there are four skin color types; winter, spring, summer and autumn. I’m not sure what my skin tone is, but I hate wearing pastels and buy clothing of bright cranberry, turquoise, green or blue.

A completely colorblind person can apparently see color with special glasses. I’ve seen several Facebook videos showing family or co-workers presenting a pair of these glasses to a ‘colorblind’ person. The person puts them on and cries like a baby while naming the colors of the balloons put up for the occasion.

I’m a cynic. If a person has been colorblind from birth, how would they know the names of all the colors? To be honest, I wouldn’t cry. I’d be all, “Oh, wow! Everything looks so beautiful and bright! I feel overwhelmed by it.” Pointing to each balloon, I’d ask, “What color is this?”

It is now the beginning of October, 2020, and I’m spending hours working in my garden to get it ready for its long winter sleep. As I work, I occasionally stop to rest. Looking across the yard at the bright sumac leaves reminds me of Arnie, who unfortunately wasn’t able to enjoy their autumn colors.

sumac along the second driveway.

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