A November world of color

Oh, man, that blue. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

October was rough. We Hearty Hikers had three big hiking plans all worked out . . when the typhoons (so late this year!) and the rain ruined them all. It was especially disappointing not to be able to get to Yakushima (an island south of the four main islands of Japan) and into the lush green forests in which the ancient cedars grow. Ancient, as in several thousands of years old.

When the blue skies finally returned, and I knew that outside, somewhere, the beautiful orange persimmons were bursting through that blue, well, it was just then that a Facebook friend challenged me to post on Facebook, seven days running, seven B&W photos.

Black and white! Those words nearly killed me.

Don’t get me wrong. I like B&W photographs. It takes some real skill to take those suckers well. But that’s not me. I mainly take pictures so that I have an excuse to go out and bathe in the color.

For me, it’s simple. There is sunlight. It brings us all the energy of the sun. When it gets here, it breaks up–into color. When we look at this color, we see the energy that sustains us, recognize how beautiful the energy we’ve managed to secure inside ourselves is. Plants really dig this light, and are kind enough to turn it into sugar for us–so I’m especially moved by the color of plants.

Well, I gave it a try. The B&W challenge. For three or four days. My grand-hopes-for-November spirit gradually typhooned down into grey once again. I knew I had to quit, when I looked into the mirror one evening, and saw that my soul had turned to cold steel.

Look away if you need to.

So I had to admit defeat. And boy, am I glad I did.

Because colors color me happy.

Atop Ryuso Mountain, a thistle, and a happy bee blessed with a great eye for color.

Chlorophyl breaking down at the source of the Sakasa River—leaving yellow and gold.

Dabs of color along the road descending into Yamanashi Prefecture, seen from the Bara-no-dan Ridge.

Cycling into work, the pampas grass—and a blue sky.

Our friend Fuji, from the Aozasa ridge.

The blue is special. Because when you have that clear azure sky, the yellows, oranges, and reds under it, are going to be all the more special.

You guys know that I like the way those local folk singers, Shizuoka Duo, put it:

I feel the love coming through the blue . . . uh-huh,

I feel the warm glow of the orange . . . uh-huh.

Yep, the orange under the blue is something special, full of energy and love.

Energy and love? That might be redundant.

Persimmon dreams are there for us all the year round, but it’s really hard not to have persimmon dreams in November.

Along the Aozasa ridge, the light, the gold leaves of the beech, the blue.

Along the Aozasa ridge, the maples, the beech, the  blue.

Along the Aozasa ridge, the gold leaves of the beech.

And in the neighborhood, the love coming through the blue.

In the neighborhood, colorful persimmon dreams.

On the Bara-no-dan ridge, fall colors and the blue.

When you see a Hearty Hiker stand before this sight, and raise her arms to the sky, and smile bigger than the universe, then you truly understand the moral authority of blue.

In the neighborhood, the yellow of the rice—and the blue.

In the neighborhood, the greens and yellows of the rice. How sweet the light  golden grains look among them.

A deep sigh.

I’m feeling better now.

My soul has revived.

On campus, the cherry red cherry leaves.

On campus, the yellow and gold of the gingko.

And somewhere in the neighborhood, here and there, (keep your eyes peeled) . . .

. . . colorful friends doing what they can to get themselves up into that blue.

And, in November, after all the rain, everywhere . . .

. . . beautiful persimmon dreams.

The sky was so beautiful this morning, up on Yatsuyama, that I dipped down from the mountain and entered the grounds of Gokoku Shrine, so that I could toss a hundred-yen coin into the box—and express my gratitude for the color, for the love that lives in it.

And it just happened that today was Shichi-go-san—the Seven-five-three celebration. Boys celebrate becoming five, and girls celebrate becoming three or seven.

Where did they get the idea for all those colors? How happy do you think they feel in them?

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