Living in Color

It was hard to miss the brilliant orange butterfly against the deep green leaf.  The bright color draws the eye and is one of those colors that screams for attention, especially when placed against a dark background. In the case of this exquisite butterfly, orange is definitely not the new black.

Color excites the senses. There is no room for dull or subtle when the world is lit with color.

I found this specimen on one of my weekend excursions with John. I savor our weekend trips, those times when I can escape the doldrums of the typical week. Most trips involve the exploration of new surroundings. Although, most days we have a destination in mind, sometimes we end up somewhere completely unplanned. Sometimes, we just drive. We call our journeys adventures because that is exactly what we are seeking. Most of the time, an adventure is also what we find.

I’ll tell you a secret, but you must promise to shout it from the rooftops.

I want to wake up in the morning anticipating a new adventure. Boring will not suffice.

People who know me well will tell you that I am quirky. Not quirky in the negative sense, but quirky in the way I view and interact with life.

Inanimate objects in my world have names. My camera is Lydia. My car is Lucy. My bicycle is Wilma.

I may speak in voices not my own. Some days you may hear a munchkin, while others are full of the wicked witch. I may get you my pretty, even if you are a member of the lollipop guild.

I talk to the plants in my garden and yes, sometimes they answer me in the whisper of leaves and soft petals.

I have complete conversations with the story characters in my head. It’s a great way to get to know them better before they see life on my page. For this reason, I must write; otherwise, my brain might explode.

Puppets have been known to inhabit my purse.  They make unexpected appearances when grandchildren are nearby.

I call it living in color.

Last summer, I watched my youngest grandson experience the thrill of one of my favorite childhood past times – spending time on a swing.  I watched his mom lovingly place him in the swing. His excitement was evident in the purposeful movements of both legs. He squealed with delight as a simple push put the swing in motion. And as the swing soared higher, I watched him close his eyes. Finally, when he had reached maximum height, the arms went up in the air and the delighted squeals from this small body sounded much like a song. My grandson had become one with the experience of the swing.

Watching him flooded my mind with my own sweet memories of a backyard swing. I was on that swing almost every evening. It was a personal challenge to see how high I could glide into the horizon. Many evenings, I felt I could touch the sky. Then, I would sing, certain as my own being that someone out there was listening. I was one with the experience of the swing.


Here’s the deal. Life should be colorful. Days matter and experiences should be memorable.  It isn’t enough to simply click off the days of our lives in an endless parade of bland moments.  Surely, there must be inspiration, meaning, and yes, even purpose.  Anything less is not living.  Anything less is merely existing.

What gets you up in the morning besides Folgers in your cup?  A swat from a favorite cat or the cold nose of a puppy?  Soft footfalls from the small feet of grandchildren? A mission or hobby that fuels your passion and imagination? A worthy cause?

Or just an alarm clock?

But, my goodness, what would the neighbors think? Convention tells us that there is a list somewhere, one with rules and boxes to check off, just to make sure we are doing life properly. Life should be tidy, contained, and controlled. Let’s make sure that we all color within the lines. No scribbling or resisting allowed.

But life isn’t tidy or contained. And life certainly will not be controlled. There are only two choices. We can either fight for convention or live fluidly as part of a greater experience.

We can choose to live in color. If life exists in color, why live it in black and white?

Published byDebra Larabee

Debra Larabee is a nurse, writer, photographer and lifestyle educator. She received her diploma in nursing in 1981 from Mount Carmel School of Nursing and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in1990 from Capital University. Debra completed post-graduate training in distance education from the Univerity of Maryland and has dedicated her professional life to assisting others in their search for a healthier life.

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