A post for The Colour Collaborative.
Ten years ago, I used to work in an office in the city centre. And I used to loathe winter. Every year when the summer faded a little gloom would come over me as I faced a long season of cold commutes and windy wet lunch breaks. In the summer I was happy as a clam, sailing down the big hill on my bicycle every morning and finding one of my favourite outside spaces to sit at lunchtime. But when the temperatures dropped and the days darkened I would complain.
But then I was lucky enough to be able to stop working when the children were born, and to move out of the city, and to my surprise I fell in love with winter. It’s completely and utterly different to live with it, instead of against it. If you don’t have to commute on a bicycle and the only real daylight you see isn’t just a brief foray into the elements in thin unsuitable office clothes during the middle of the day, everything is different.
I started noticing the striking patterns of leafless trees against the sky, the birds playing in the wild winter winds, the cleansing feel of bare fields and the beautiful grey-brown cocoa colour of the countryside. Winter became a chance to rest a little from the relentless outdoor time of other seasons. Time to be cosy inside without feeling any lazy guilt. Time to enjoy the wind howling round the porch like it does when it comes from the north, and to marvel at the force of the rain and ice hurled against the windows. It came to be that there was nothing finer than a raging storm, even on a day when I had to go out. I would bundle up the children, put on boots and a thick coat, and just enjoy the feeling of being alive in such wild and windy weather. The fun of racing through driving rain clutching a small damp hand as the gales threatened to knock us over and the pleasure of reaching a destination and bursting through the door, breathless and pink-cheeked was wonderful.
I had more time to be creative too, and I started knitting and making quilts and creating scrapbooks. And as I did so I discovered something else - the beautiful world of colour. In an office of lawyers, black dominates. At the AGM there were over 300 people wearing black, with a little charcoal and navy, and just a smattering of colour, but only amongst the non-lawyers. As a celebration of having left a job I loathed, I started wearing every colour I could lay my hands on. I wore blue and green and purple and pink. Pink! It was wonderful. Before, whenever I shopped, I bought the black one. If they didn’t have it in black, I didn’t bother. Now, a huge world had opened up.
After a while my colour mania calmed down, and I noticed a trend in my choice of colours for the things I was making - I would usually choose the stormy colours of winter.
The wonderful thick heavy greys that complimented pretty much everything. Subtle shades of blue and muted purples. That duck egg colour that appears over the horizon as the storm passes, with lavender grey streaks of cloud and a hint of silver.
I know myself better now; these are my colours. Whenever I’m undecided in making a colour choice I just look to the winter sky and choose the colours of the storm.
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