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"Right brain...left brain..." One for words, one for images, and I, ever easily aroused and enraptured by both. Which brain was mine, I mused? Yet another hole too round for my perennially square peg. Images. Color. Why choose?
I cannot remember a time when I was not seduced by color. Was it petunias, perhaps, firm grip of my father's aging hand as we climbed short hill beside our house to browse briefly in palette of fuschias and magentas, violets and lavenders blue? Was it haphazard piles of velvet upholstery samples tossed invitingly on play yard floor of my grandmother's linen closet, beckoning me to cavort with kings and queens? Or bright balls of wool stored in shiny brass potato chip can awaiting her dedicated fingers to transform them into rainbow squares for afghans? Perhaps it was color words themselves, tantalizing tongue twirls of fairy tales and Crayola wrappers: heliotrope, delphinium, vermilion, celadon, burnt sienna, Endless as imagination, they lured me to delight.
I am drawn to mesmer of color as musician is to melody. Song colors my ears; image colors my soul. I cannot choose a favorite, like chocolate or vanilla ice cream; life remains incomplete without all 64 in one box. From earliest remembrances of childhood, my favorite few possessions were books with "colored plates", a rare find among my mother's vintage novels, and crayons. I amassed color everywhere: postage stamps, ribbons, fabric switches, buttons, flower petals, butterflies, marbles, in endless and varied collections. While my mother shopped, I crawled invisibly under tables in millinery department, risking spots on my shopping-white gloves and hoping that an elegant bloom or two, a feather or a bright sequin, had somehow hidden in pale, plush carpeting. I traced paisleys in oriental rugs, and retraced them as I rubbed my eyes and journeyed through my very own Arabian Nights to sleep.
Dresses, many ill-fitting and old, hide in depths of my closet, appearing as briefly as butterflies in Spring cleaning, and then carefully return to their hooks and hangers because loss of their colors would somehow diminish my being. Like my relationships, they stay safely in shadows, each waiting for vibrant moment to emerge from its Plastic bag chrysalis when light changes seasons. My mother's coral wool dressing gown, my father's tasteful maroon ties, my daughter's first velvet gown, an unmistakable Evening-In-Paris blue, a length of bright Marimekko left from my son's window curtain -- each has a spot in my Technicolor memory. Bred on still enticing black and white films, a secret part of me breathes a quick sigh of relief when movie is in color!
Like my mother, I find myself chasing Tiffany windows in obscure towns and places, their brilliant tones enveloping me in awed silence as they did on Sunday mornings long ago. Unable, to rationalize a splurge on real thing, I have carefully arranged a pauper's ransom of colored glasses and bottles on eastern sill to greet early morning light. Drawers burgeon with sheets of wrapping paper too beautiful to be sacrificed yet to packages; silk scarves spanning generations lie in neatly folded piles looking for a more swan-like neck than mine.
Yes, it is I, screeching to a stop in front of summer's roadside stands—surely there is a friend who will delight in medley of marigold yellows and cosmos magentas as much as I. Only a woman committed to keeping all 64 colors in a single, dog-eared yellow box would buy flowers instead of cucumbers for dinner, would count Provencal sunflowers instead of sheep on a sleepless night. There is not a jelly glass (see how that one looks blue in afternoon light!) too dusty for optimistic crimson of last November rosebud, nor a moment too full to wonder at purpling miracle of sunset, where, at last, one might search between gilded folds of cloud and finally capture elusive sky-blue pink.
"Color", continued this morning's speaker, "frolicked like child at edge of sand" in chosen artist's works. In color lies kaleidoscope of my life, fire opal of my imagination, and palette of my memories and dreams. It is prism of my soul, illuminating depths and dark.
Dr. Holstein is the originator of The Enchanted Self and a psychologist since 1981. She is the author of two books: The Enchanted Self, A Positive Therapy and Recipes for Enchantment, The Secret Ingredient is YOU! Dr. Holstein speaks on radio, and appears on television in NY and NJ. She gives lectures, seminars, retreats and audio interviews on LadybugLive.com and is in private practice in Long Branch, NJ with her husband, Dr. Russell Holstein.