What does “color” mean? What is the relationship between color and my life?
The answer would appear obvious, to the point of seeming rather banal. Could you consider life without considering color? Can you begin to think about a black-and-white life, or your life in black and white? For even black and white are colors too, are they not?
A life without color would be a void. Being for us is colored.
Color is the way through which the world comes to me. It is a powerful channel of relationships, of communication. Color establishes attraction and repulsion, sets up combinations and atmospheres. Color changes the reality of an environment.
There are those who identify color with something changeable or superfluous, like fashion, or illusive. Lips colored with lipstick, or the latest shade of cashmere tie… As «color» in these instances is optional and interchangeable, then surely we can live without it…
But, this isn’t true. Or better still, the fact that color is variable and changing may be a clear sign of life. The poetry written by Gerard Manley Hopkins (that Attilio Bertolucci defines “powerfully explosive”) helps us to understand that true beauty is always pied beauty.
«Pied beauty» is the title of one of his best known poems and in which Hopkins gives glory to God
for dappled things –
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
Passion for what is unstable and original, for what is changing, is not a simple interest for strangeness. It is passion for what comes forth, exuberant like water rising from a spring. This pied beauty, multicolored, variegated, flecked and speckled is the sign that nature is never spent. It is never exhausted, it doesn’t run out.
Death is there; ready to snuff our exuberance, ready to blot and to black out all things. The realty seems to be drawn into an enormous darkness. But to these dark thoughts we hear Hopkins shout: Enough!! From his view point, darkness wrestles color in a constant, but hopeless duel because color will not relinquish the mantle. Our destiny is not the darkness, but the dayspring, the day that springs forth from the dawn, the beginning and fresh origin of the day.
But to understand all this we need to have our eyes open, for if we see the world’s vivid palette in all it’s color, our voices can join Hopkins in saying
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things.