Wednesday, June 18, 2008


The ferry churns out of our island harbour . It is a grey overcast day with a flat layer of cloud from horizon to horizon: it is a June morning and this month can typically produce a lot of days that look like this. We yearn for the days of blue sky and brilliant warm sun: for the vivid colours that enliven the landscape and our own moods. We often look in vain.

Perhaps it is my partial colour blindness that helps me see the beauty in this grey seascape outside the salt speckled windows. The rocky, tree covered hills that hold our bay in the crook of their arms look serious in this light; even the new light green spring foliage is blended with the darker evergreens by the sheen of grey that coats them all. The distant islands are dipped in a restful grey toned blue. The sea`s surface presents an intricate pattern of burnished and ruffed patterns in many tones of dark and light. Even the white smudges of ferry wave crests are only white in relation to the tones they dance upon.

A grey day is so common here on this coast, often streaked with rain or raked by wind, often carrying a damp penetrating cold, that it is our familiar companion. Our moods are so wrapped in grey we cannot tell if the sky influences us or if we ourselves cast this pall upon the land.

When those brilliant days do eventually swing by, we turn our faces to the sun like plants determined to suck up every bit of light. We bask in colour for awhile, then adjust to the dappled light of cloud and sun, the drama of windswept skies and finally pull the blanket of grey back up again. I turn back to my familiar tones as to a work Monday after a weekend of relaxation: partly reluctantly, but also with a sense that I am back to the real, serious, subtle things of life: shades of grey.

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