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back to the start

To become attached to something or somebody: this is always a curious state.

Today, I listened to three older women fight for their right to sunlit yellow walls, 'though they seemed curiously unaware that the true sun had been blocked, utterly (with flattened cardboard boxes, at that!), from the windows above them. The yellow walls the ladies prepared to do battle for were a weak stand-in for the sun, but they were the stand-in that had become an accustomed, unrealized sun-substitute.

"You cannot paint the wall gray! It will be dismal and unhappy and perfectly awful on a cloudy day!" said the older ladies as they practically stomped their feet on the floor.

In truth, the gray in question was actually a lovely bluish, green-tinged, hazy sort of floating cloud color, and the yellow they were fighting for was a sad, dilapidated faux-Tuscan romp. But it was a yellow to which they had become attached, and for which they felt such strong admiration and longing that they practically yelled, in the quiet coffee shop, that this was simply not to be accepted.

The color these three sweet ladies believed they saw was sunny and brilliant (and it might once have been, but that once was long since past). It was the color they had clearly come to expect each day while drinking their quite-decent cup of espresso. For twenty minutes each morning, the lovely ladies felt they owned a tiny bit of real estate on the main street of an insistently charming little town in California surrounded by hills and real sunshine and happy jogging people, or people who were dressed as happy jogging people.

They owned the yellow walls, too, for those twenty minutes. Perhaps they felt they had found, finally, a way to make their sun stand still...but I am with Andrew Marvell and believe we cannot make our sun stand still, yet we will make it run.

My guess is that the sweet hazy green-tinged-blue cloud gray will suit them just fine, in time. It might take a bit of getting used to and several dozen espresso-filled mornings spent pondering the sky.

I think we will give them just a bit of a spicy clean clear yellow, too, so that their sun does not turn to dust.

[this was the first post ever on the blog.
i'd just finished working with two magnificent
(new) cafe owners & was pondering the response
to a fresh color we'd introduced. (4 years later,
i'm happy to say that it has been well-received
and still looks awfully fresh.)

the blog? the blog has been a good
exercise. and Mary? what did she have to do
with color and Andrew Marvell, los gatos and
blogging and who knows what else? she is from
Munich, this Mary, and had been visited over the

if i'd started a blog to (a) just figure out how
to blog (b) jot down a few notes about things i was
working on or thinking about (c) communicate with
those far away whom i missed desperately, or
(d) all of the above- well, i suppose Mary and Marvell
were good to start with. happy about my foresight, there.

& if you answered (d) you were right.]

photo: munich, 2008ish


somewhere over new jersey

(on a flight from jfk this summer.)
taking photos of clouds. with my
iphone. why? because. because i
never cease to be amazed at this big
country of ours. the skies, the roads,
the crickets that sing loudly in our
neighborhood at night. the way
californians tell you it's all good,
no worries (even if they're worried).

the way new yorkers are in a hurry.
the way you can get moon-pies and
mallomars at a highway rest stop &
you can find yourself fighting tears
when a bunch of kids sing about fruited
plains. i never stop loving how we can
fight over our amendments (which give
us the rights to fight over them) and tell
people what we really think (in print, in
black and white, in color; we can tell
people, and no one has the right to tell
us not to) and i never stop loving how
we keep trying to do the right thing.

we do, almost all of us- and if we keep doing
so, we'll probably get there. to the right thing.

and, in the goodness of that, we can keep
being the place that people from all over
the world come to for the freedom that
jefferson and lincoln and m.l.k. and you &
i talk about. and depend on. & live for.