Orange is my favorite color and while I’m allergic to the fruit, orange things generally make me happy. I’m not sure why. Maybe there was some pivotal point in my young development whereby something wonderful happened and I connected that event to the color orange, or maybe not. Maybe it’s just one of those things and can’t be, and perhaps needn’t be, fully explained. It’s not just orange though, colors such as red and pink also please me both visually, and here’s the more interesting part, physically! As I’m not a neuroscientist of any sort, I can’t be perfectly sure, but I may be a synesthete. See, red, violet, orange, mandarin, pink, and vermillion aren’t just colors to me, they are feelings both emotional and physical. This reaction isn’t to these colors alone, but they are the ones with which I can “feel it” the most. There’s nothing more wonderfully orange and radiant than the sun itself, and that is why I am an absolute, fully fledged sun worshiper and lover of all things summer. I couldn’t be happier that here in the northern hemisphere, it looks like summer is well on its way and I for one am thoroughly thrilled!
Winter is hard for me most of all due to its absence of color. Leafless trees appear to be the hands of dead things reaching up from the grave; devoid of the color of life. During the long winters here in northern Europe, I struggle not to succumb to seasonal depression and most of the time it seems that the conditions will never end and I’ll have to live bundled up and surrounded by grays and browns forever. There’s nothing wrong with these colors in and of themselves yet, in me, they trigger a physical response that stiffens the joints, tenses the muscles, and gets me hungrier and hungrier by the day. I usually put on weight and only want to sleep. It’s hard for me to muster up enough energy to maintain social engagements and make time for fun in my life. Everything vibrates, but only barely and the lull of the bassline of life during winter months leaves my eyes as heavy as stones and my mind slow and lethargic. I tried light therapy and it didn’t work for me. It’s also not the temperature; where I live in Germany, the temperature is actually quite mild and real extremes are unusual. Still, I prefer warm climates and while the thermometer plays a role in how I feel, it’s not the whole of the story.
When spring starts, before the birds fly back and start their incessant singing, and I begin to see the first hints of color coming back to the landscape, it’s not unusual for me to experience near euphoria! The hair on my arms spontaneously stands at attention when walking by early blooming, albeit pale, flowers. Dabs of green at the end of weather-weary branches leads to a small but noticeably growing warmth at the base of my spine. By the time the temperature heads up and things start really coming to life and are in full swing, I’m drunk from color and a humming feeling grows throughout my body. As mentioned, this sensation is particularly piqued by oranges, reds, pinks, etc., but not only! In the summer I don’t just see nature, I really feel it. I am it. Every spindly vine, every thick growth of green haired shrub, the brushy pointedness of thirsty grass, it all meets in my body and I feel not so much as a human thing, but as a wholly new being born for just that season to experience orange, green, red, gold, yellow, pink, even purple and bright blue.
If this all sounds a bit crazy to you, it probably is. There is a very real possibility that this may all be simply a construct of my imagination, some overreaction to a natural propensity to enjoy warm weather and luscious environs — I don’t know! But, if you think this is all a bunch of hocus pocus, just imagine what it’s like with me at an art museum! Ha!
If it happens to be summer (or almost summer) wherever you are, I hope that you’ll get out and enjoy all that’s on offer. Who knows, maybe you might feel what I feel?! Happy (almost) summer, everyone!