Friday, June 26, 2009

It’s Just a Color

Zach, Paige, and I are warming up before our run, talking about heading back to Colorado this summer. Paige says that people from Colorado are the most loyal to their state of anyone at her school. She thinks that’s because it’s so beautiful in Colorado. Zach says Washingtonians are loyal to their state as well - they’d have to be to put up with eight months of overcast and rain every year. Paige mentions that she’s heard the usual company line at her school about how all that rain is what makes it so green in Washington.

We all agree that it’s green elsewhere without the eight months of overcast and rain. Zach doesn’t see what the big deal is about the green, after all, “it’s just a color.” All of us laugh long and hard at this statement. So true.

Going on a run in our family can be a pretty wacky experience. The nutty conversation is matched by the route we run. Zach is leading, which I know will be trouble. I mention as soon as he opts to choose an unusual course that taking a route that wanders all over the place results in a run that is shorter than it feels. Off we go, heading first through Wildwood Park. Wildwood has very dense forest with steep trails that go up and down like a roller coaster - it’s gorgeous today with light filtering down through the canopy of the forest. Zach has run a couple of his cross-country meets in this park, so he knows the trails well. He’s running downhill too fast. If he doesn’t slow down he’s going to become a permanent part of the landscape by missing one of the frequent serpentine turns in the trail. I taught him better – rest on the downhill and pass your opponents on the uphill.

We survive Wildwood without anybody wiping out, and then head in a direction that’s vaguely reminiscent of a homeward bound course. We run through one spot that’s a short familiar trail, and find that it’s completely overgrown, plowing through nettles and other assorted botany to get to the other end.

Down the road a ways I suggest to Zach that instead of saying “It’s just a color,” he could say “It’s just a specific wavelength of light.” This new angle launches a whole discussion about color blindness, cones and rods, dogs seeing only in black and white, and Paige’s psychology professor saying it’s all in your mind, or something like that. Now we’re getting into metaphysics.

We round the final curve in the road and coast to a stop in front of our house. I check my watch and note that we’ve run at least a mile less than our normal distance. Zach! That’s O.K. though. I wouldn’t trade the mileage for the company. After all, the next time I hear someone bragging about how green Washington is, I’ll have a great, if somewhat cryptic response, “It’s just a color!

photo credit: someToast


revalkorn said...

It's not just a color. When I was in Missouri, the color of a soybean field in mid-July has to be about the prettiest thing I've ever seen (my wife not being a thing). I'm not one of those nuts who believes that all we have to do to commune with God is to appreciate nature, but it certainly doesn't hurt my appreciation for creation that He did such a kick-ass job painting everything. And anything that reminds me of the goodness of God is a good thing.

Incidentally, a close second is the color of trees right when the sky is that ominous grey that comes right before the storm begins.

Matt said...

NEBRASKANS are the most loyal. And we don't need a reason!

revalkorn said...

Matt--it's good you feel that way, since Nebraska has so little to be loyal to. *wink*

Scott Diekmann said...

Go Big Red!