I Am Orange


Taut strands of warp swallow soft fibers of weft as the shuttle makes its way through to create me. I am carefully removed from the wooden frame and then boiled in a mixture of roots and tubers, plants, bark, leaves, flowers and fruits, and then beaten against rocks to assure my hue. It is a labor of love and one of humility. I trek the far reaches of the Himalayas on the body of a holy man who carries only a walking stick and a bowl for sustenance. Vibrations of Sanskrit chants are absorbed into my substance. I bathe in pristine water and sit cross-legged on the top of a mountain. I feel the cold, crisp air, but my soul is warm. I behold beauty in every direction.

The pendulum swings. Industrial looms ran by disgruntled workers formed me. I’m utilitarian and serve a lone purpose. My fibers are stiff. I feel the chaffed skin and smell the stench of sweat of the man I cover. Self-loathing and anger penetrate my fibers. I sense the condemnation and mocking from the man pushing the metal rod against my backside as it clangs against the metal cuffs. Hollywood tries to add romance to my situation and calls me the new black. It couldn’t be further from the truth.

In a small village I am yet again handled with care. I am the earth, a rich vein of clay. I am rolled out flat and baked in the sun. I love the name I have been given, Terracotta. It flows on the tongue. I am trodden upon, but I don’t mind, except for possibly spiked heels. Bare feet are my favorite. But, also I love the bare hands. I am massaged into shape in the form of adobe bricks. I am placed one by one on the Terracotta. I make a home, the home of an artist, a potter. He molds me and sits me spinning atop a wheel. The motion makes me ecstatic. I am a Whirling Dervish. I become a beautiful pot, admired by many. I am passed down through generations. Someone is careless and knocks me to the floor. I crash on the beautiful Saltillo tile of a Mexican restaurant. What is that I hear? It’s my song. A mariachi band is playing. All my colorful cousins stand playfully against the stucco plaster. I am happy. In my elation I drift back to another time.

I purr and strut along a cobblestone street, elated and smug after a victory over a mouse, a worthy prey. I stop to lick my tabby fur, and am caught off guard. A man scoops me up and begins caressing me, the stench of linseed oil strong on his bony hands. He looks up at the moon and down at my fur, an ah ah moment for him. In haste he carries me back to his studio giving me a place of honor on a cushion in the corner. I watch as he skillfully captures my very essence on canvas, as he translates it to the rising moon and hayfields below. He signs his name, Van Gogh. I think, superb. This man understands me. My hunting prowess takes second seat. I am humbled in his presence, and I meow my approval.

For a brief time I am followed by the paparazzi. Yet I evoke reverence and respect. Awes and oohs can be heard with the snap of Cannons, Nikons and Hasselblad’s. I am sublime. They call me autumn. I fade and fall, as all things do. A chill invades the air. I am earthy and fragrant peering out of pots on porches. It is the season. I am everywhere – chrysanthemums, pumpkins, jack-o-lanterns. The air grows more frigid.

I am transformed. You can find me crackling and popping inside a hearth. I look out to see a family playing a board game, drinking hot chocolate. Outside it is snowing. In another instance I look out taking in the hungry gaze of lovers and blush, if that is indeed possible for me. In the distance I blaze against the backdrop of stars, comforting a lone hiker on the Appalachian Trail.

I am a color chart in a hardware store, a smear of paint across the top of a can. A woman eyes my different tints and shades, choosing two. To the clerk, she says, I will take these two. The clerk walks away and then comes back and says almost in shock, “You did say these were for the outside of a house?”

She replies, “Yes, I did.” This woman is bold. Once again, I am reminded of the painter a century ago.

My progeny of tints and shades are many, apricot, peach, amber, burnt sienna, vermilion, salmon, tangerine, pumpkin…the list goes on. Simply put a child calls me orange, the color of juice, or the fruit, or a carrot. Bugs Bunny likes carrots. I am a pumpkin pie with whipped cream. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I am a scary jack-o-lantern. I am both yin and yang. I am the ten thousand straws of The Tao.

At my root I am the sacral chakra, second up the ladder, between red and yellow. I am both sensual and sexual. When I’m balanced I give grace to movement and pleasure without guilt. I am positive and spontaneous, acting on pure gut or instinct. I give freedom and inspire. I won’t steer you wrong, except in the kitchen. I am a stimulant and will definitely wet your appetite.

(This was for a writing class. I added to it, so am posting again. I’m working my way through the colors.)

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