Living Through Color

I waited for the moment my magnificent visiting hummingbird in iridescent orange with soft cream accent and green wings would come to my humble hand.

When I lived far up in the hills of Santa Barbara, where the hummingbirds were plentiful, there was one that stood out in vibrant orange. He or she revisited me every spring, and was smaller and shyer than the others if you can imagine that. It also made a sound that came out like a squeak rather than the usual familiar clicking sound. I waited for the moment my magnificent visiting hummingbird in iridescent orange with soft cream accent and green wings would come to my humble hand. Weeks went by. One afternoon, home from a surgery with drains tucked in my underwear, I stood near the feeder with hand held out holding a small red spice cap of nectar. Right before I gave up to find the sofa again, ‘squeaky’ came to me. I studied the colors on a weightless bird inches from my heart. In retrospect, I realize that subconsciously, I chose all the colors in my treasured hummingbird — Color so memorable in its splendor, I recreated it in my space.

When I first walked in the unit I live in now, my eye went straight to the industrial white semi gloss walls everywhere. Semi gloss is rarely used in homes any longer. It immediately reminded me of the many sterile walls I’d been surrounded by, which sent a chill up my spine. Most medical institutions paint in clinical white or green semi gloss because it’s easy to clean. The thought of living in a similar environment would have brought up trauma memory. I knew what I needed to do as a first step to generate beauty in my apartment.

It has the exotic name of Micado, and it’s a sunburst orange reminding me of the deep apricot glow presented late afternoon in Florence.

I nearly raced to a paint store visualizing color, and it had not only been a long while since I had my own space, but color that I love in my 500 sq feet place. I conspired with a friend who shares my fondness for design, decorating with vibrancy, and all things beautiful and efficient. I asked her for the specific orange she’d used in the kitchen years back. It has the exotic name of Micado, and it’s a sunburst orange reminding me of the orange-apricot afternoon glow in Florence. I drove to various paint stores to hunt for exactly what I wanted to transform my small nest. I’m not one of the decorators that believes color can make a small room look smaller, and there are many elite designers that would agree with me. I believe bold coloration defines a space.

Through the living room and hallway, I picked Magnolia (cream) to which I added a few drops of red oxide for a punch of glow. Additionally, I chose a perfect shade of Sage for the bathroom with orange accent accessories; and my favorite blue in the bedroom with a deep green undertone, discovered again after disappearing for a few years, only to rise again in the computer at Osh. This exceptional blue gives me the feeling of waking up at the bottom of an ocean looking up to promise. Feng Shui thought believes that a bedroom should be in a color you cherish, and the bonus would be adding a sense of romance. I’d go further by saying, a bedroom should feel sumptuous in decor and texture.

Fabric came next. Resourceful and budget oriented, I know how to search and find the perfect fabric pattern (keeping bigger pieces neutral like sofa, chair, etc.) to tie in all the hues creating a flow not only in my home, but a flow within myself. One fabric I coordinated all my paint and accent colors. It displays blossomed joyful flowers providing the exact flare and statement I desired to make.

The warm tropical sea on Key Biscayne offering breezy sea green to aqua colored water, and skies from cornflower blue to midnight blue as a storm came in. Sunsets were a gift of flamenco pink and orange creamsicle.

Since I was a very little girl, lonely for a mother who left the world far too early, I’ve found ways to surround myself with whatever could nurture me in the moment. Cats, definitely cats. The warm tropical sea on Key Biscayne offering breezy sea green to aqua colored water, and skies from cornflower blue to midnight blue as a storm came in. Sunsets were a gift of flamenco pink and orange creamsicle. The beauty of color fed me then, and will for as long as I remain on our vulnerable planet. When I’ve had many days in the past, and far too many days in the present, where staying under the covers is all I want to do, I find my way back to what I know brings me encouragement.

I write in my book, “Caution: Mermaid Crossing”, how it’s moments of elegance, connection, passion, and a willingness to be open that’s kept me alive; that’s kept me going. During the most grueling four-year plus breast cancer journey, that’s felt endless when I would stare at those sterile walls, I sought the friendship of my hummingbirds in contrast to feed my soul and fill me with inspiration and healing energy. When these bird angels would fly to my hand for nectar, and hover with wings going so fast they were translucent, I’d have close proximity to study the vibrant colors; fuchsia, iridescent emerald green, royal purple, scarlet red, and deep orange. Observing these exquisite colors were life-affirming and deepened my adoration for wildlife; as well as providing artistic ideas for home design, wardrobe; and an imprint of sense memory I’ll never lose.

I waited for the moment that this iridescent orange hummie with soft cream accent and green wings would come to my hand.

With the worse behind me, it’s my hope that I find faith again and that I make the effort to live a more colorful life than ever before — to color far outside the lines, and bring a spark of color to others. Especially since I’ve survived a challenging journey and losses that still sting at times, I look toward a new chapter. I yearn to seek things that make me feel alive and full of wonder — Connection that surprises, swimming in aqua marine water that sweeps me away into another living world, sitting in that cafe in Florence deep in the afternoon where the orange glow drops on my wine glass; or something close to home where I snuggle with a child or animal.

I urge you to look for the unexpected around the corner — The gift of chemistry and kissing for hours any time of day, enveloped by an autumn breeze, finding the perfect color that brings you comfort and delight; or whatever lofty pursuit brings radiant zest in your life. Color far outside the lines and feel the sensation of catching the perfect wind in your sails that creates a dynamic opportunity for the soul to soar.

Keep on swimming through life,

Valerie

www.cautionmermaidcrossing.com

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