Our theme for the month of February is “color.”
We have a large armoire that Gwyn painted blue some time before we moved into our first Grand Rapids apartment. Her grandfather, a practiced woodworker, built it long ago. The two sections are made from heavy oak: a base with three cavernous drawers that functions more like a dresser, and a closet resting on the base. The wardrobe is a hulking piece of furniture, and its contents have changed with each subsequent move, rotating between sweaters, sweatpants, blue jeans, t-shirts. In the midst of our latest move, someone touring our apartment asked if the armoire could possibly stay in the bedroom. We said no, we needed to take it with us.
In that apartment the bedroom walls were also painted blue. A darker shade, perhaps more navy than true blue. In springtime, at the right hour in the afternoon, the sun would cut through the window and paint a parallelogram on our bed. Occasionally I would lay down in the sun-spilled geometry like a good cat and look at the blue (well, navy) walls until I dozed off to sleep. They say the color blue can be quite calming. I would agree with that.
One day, a year or two ago, we were outside with our dog. A toddler boy across the street was clearly interested in the dog; he kept stealing prolonged glances our way, but he didn’t make a move toward us. Finally, he yelled over: “What’s that dog’s name?”
“His name is Blue,” we answered.
His face fell into a cloud of confusion for more than a few seconds. I thought maybe he didn’t like the name, or he knew another dog named Blue and was trying to come to terms with this new reality. At last, determination replaced the confusion on his face: “Um, that dog is white.” Technically, he’s golden, but the kid’s got a point. At least Blue wears a blue collar, and we walk him on a blue leash.
For as long as I can remember, when asked my favorite color, I’ve said blue. This answer generally goes over well with kids who also love blue, but then I remember that I don’t love blue, and it’s not my favorite. It’s just the color I know the most. Sometimes I wonder how to communicate this difference to whatever boy or girl has asked me the question.
I could tell him or her that I have a lot of blue shirts and even some blue pants, that my eyes are blue, that my dog’s name is Blue, that the walls of our old apartment were blue, that we have a wardrobe painted blue. I could tell him or her that I like bodies of water, and that water often appears blue, or that blue seems the most calming color. But of course, I don’t say any of that. I nod enthusiastically when they tell me blue is their favorite color too, and I say, “Yeah, blue is the best.”
I wish, sometimes, that I was a synesthete, transported by sound into a world of color. I wish, sometimes, that I was awash in blue.
Brad Zwiers (’12) graduated from Calvin College in 2012 and Western Theological Seminary in 2015. He will not be graduating from any more schools. He often stares at books he wishes he could read but knows he will not finish and goes for long walks with his wife, Gwyn. Sometimes he plays basketball and always he follows the greatest sporting club in the world, Liverpool F.C.