Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Shades of brown
This morning everything is brown. So many shades of brown, some pale, some deep. It’s only this time of year, I think, when I see and remember just how many different shades brown can be. Each season has its color or colors. Midsummer is deep green (there’s a reason why it’s called forest green). Early spring is a pale, bright shade of green. October has several colors, all in tones of red or yellow or orange. Now is the brown time of year.
Brown is not a shade I normally think of with a great deal of fondness. It’s a bit dull—certainly not a showstopper. And yet, I’m always impressed with the subtlety and extent of its reach. Browns can be warm or cool, nearly black or almost white and everything in between, too. Brown is the color of earth and tree bark, of most sparrows, of deer in winter. Did you ever notice how many shades of browns are named for animals of a similar shade—seal brown, camel, beaver, fawn. Brown is a shade that really gets around.
This morning, brown was the only color I could find. Each fallen leaf was a different shade of brown, each dried stalk of what had been summer’s greenery is now a shade of brown. Grass is brown, even the sandy rocks that dot the mountain are brown.
Here on Roundtop, the brown time of year can be long or short. Snow might soon cover the landscape—or not. I never know if winter will be white or brown. Often, it’s more than cold enough to snow, but the season turns into a dry one and so the brown remains. When that happens the browns eventually lose their nuances of shade and by spring the attractive hues I see today are gone. I’m hoping for snow instead. I’ll just have to wait and see.