Color Me Here

As we stepped outside the other day, I suggested my husband and I do a “color walk,” where you look for a specific color as you stroll along. He chose red, of course. It’s his favorite color. So, we started naming red things immediately: red front door, red car, red trim on house, red wagon. Very soon after, my husband said, “What are we? Two years old?”

I said, “Yes, I think that’s exactly the point. To walk as a two-year old would. Noticing and reveling in everything. Being truly present.”

So, we kept at it: red Adirondack chair, red baby swing, red words on a “for sale” sign.

At a certain point, though, our grown-up selves did assert themselves as voices of judgement. “Red Christmas lights that should have been taken down by now. Cracked red tail light. Red snow shovel laying out which should be put away.” Oops . . . Back to the mind of a child.

Noticing a little deeper now: small reddish rock in one lawn’s gravel, red on the corner of a piece of food wrapper, red on a long-squashed berry on the sidewalk.

Memories surfaced. “Remember the little red snow shovel we had for the kids? They’d follow you around the driveway thinking they were helping so much!” Questions arose: “Is that lady’s coat red or more like maroon? Can we count that?” Even a bit of debate: “Isn’t that like the color of our old Rodeo? It’s not? You think it was darker? Are you sure?”

It’s not like our color walk changed us forever, but it pulled us out of our usual conversations about what repairs to make on the house, when to fill out that form we’ve been ignoring, how to handle a delicate conversation at work, etc. It gave us a game to play together, a chuckle here and there, and a sense of wonder. It helped us see our same old walk through a new lens. We didn’t solve any big problems, but we had some fun. And maybe sometimes that is just as important.

By Teresa R. Funke

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