Thursday, October 16, 2014

The colors of joy

After yesterday's doom and gloom posting, I'm happy to share a couple of pieces of good news today. At least one small speedbump has been put in the path of end runs around irrational governance in Wisconsin. The Star Tribune informs us that Wis. city's land grab to attract frac-sand mine is overruled by state agency. In Massachusetts, where I came from, I think the last annexation must have been over a hundred years ago, sometime in the late 1800s, so I was surprised at how much of it is still going on in the midwest. Some recent local annexations in Minnesota's Chisago County seemed to me to exceed any rational assessment of land needed for urban development for a long time to come, but, that's not immediately relevant. Trempealeau County is supposed to have appropriate environmental regulations for frac sand operations, but only in townships. Our old friend Superior Silica Sands wants the City of Independence to annex the property they want to mine. I'll leave it to you to think about why. Wisconsin's Department of Administration ruled the "shoestring annexation" wouldn't meet state legal tests. I hope the two townships involved decide to contest the annexation and don't get bought off.

One of Autumn's palettes (try the yellow or tan block)
Photo by J. Harrington

Of probably less significance, but nevertheless heartening, is an Internet discovery I want to share. I see myself as primarily a writer. During Spring (greens) and Autumn (reds, yellows, browns etc.), I've found my lack of fine arts training and education a hindrance when describing the plethora of colors and shades to be seen. Checking for a "color dictionary" gives me hexadecimal notations good for computers but not so much for humans. Then I found this color thesaurus. Thanks to Ingrid Sundberg for the effort and results. A fine example of art being a gift economy. Have some fun and match the colors of the leaves  and grasses (forbes?) with the names in the thesaurus. It's far from as easy as I thought it would be. Now, ask yourself, if you were creating the world, could you do any better with the colors? I didn't think so.

Another Autumn palette (try the red block)
Photo by J. Harrington

Next, I want to make a quick mention of Will Steger's commentary piece on the growth on Minnesota's clean energy economy and the jobs that go with it. I've been hoping someone was working on this. Turns out someone was.

As today's final note, yesterday we uploaded our 700th posting. We missed a few days last year, but basically we've been at this daily for coming up on two years. Once we reach that milestone we may move to a less rigid schedule of several times a week, but we'll try to remain more colorful than eight colors.

Men Say Brown

By Henry M. Seiden 

On the radio this morning: The average woman knows
275 colors—and men know eight. Women say coffee,
mocha, copper, cinnamon, taupe. Men say brown.

Women know an Amazon of colors I might have said
were green, an Antarctica of whites, oceans of colors
I'd stupidly call blue, fields of color, with flowers in them
I would have said were red.

From women, I've learned to love the browns,
the earths, the dusts, the clays, the soft colors, the colors
brought out from the mines, hardened ones,
hardened in fires I would call red; the colors of the furies;
the reconciling colors of the cooling ash.

By myself I know the evening colors when the sky goes
from blue to another blue to black—although it's a lonely,
whitish black sometimes,
                                                                        like the color of sleep—
the way dreams are lit by the light that's thrown
from nowhere on the things you find in them. Last night
there was a turtle, I would say it was brown or green,
or it was a snake, mottled, a kind of grey, disguised
as a turtle, red spots as if painted on the shell,
a palish greenish underside—vulnerable, alone
swimming in water I would say was colorless.

I woke to the pale colors of the morning—no one
has a name for those: the white-rose white you see
through the white of the curtains on the window,
the milks, the creams, the cream a galactic swirl
before it turns to brown when your wife stirs it in the coffee,
the faint drying oval on the silver of the spoon.


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