Remembering a northern winter (building fires…building communities, November 23, 2011) and the cold wet rain make me long for green, real green. Now I am not complaining too loudly, there are still some green leaves on the trees and the grass is still green, not covered by snow.
For me green is many things but first and foremost it is one of my favourite colours. Okay I do like teal a lot too but it is a variation on green. The colour green has lots of variation and I like most of them; although I am mostly drawn to primary colors I also like green apple, honeydew, lime green, garland, pepper grass, and leaf green. Well okay I guess I like lots of greens.
Many people who visited our home in Edmonton would comment on the fact that there was a lot of green in the house. I might not have remembered correctly but I recall that there were eight different colors of green paint in the various rooms of the house. If you also counted the living room furniture you would add one more green to the count.
Green is more than just “a colour in the spectrum between yellow and blue, like the colour of grass”. Trees, another one of my favourite things, are always brought to mind when I see or think about green. I have favourite trees and one in particular in the Whitemud Creek Valley in Edmonton that I used to visit regularly and now visit every time I am in town. Over the years that tree has given me solace when I needed the comfort, strength when I felt my courage waning and faith that through our connection with nature we can rely on a solid foundation. I had thought that my children considered me a bit daft when I would stop to hug my tree. I was proven wrong when for the first birthday I celebrated in Vancouver, as her gift to me my daughter offered to help me find a tree to hug here in Vancouver. That she and my other children understood and honoured my connection with my tree and trees in general filled me with gratitude. While walking in the forest I always marvel at the many shades, shapes and sizes of green. Nature is so clever in its creation of and in its promotion of variability. So many different plants and trees intertwined in a dance of life.
The green of nature is connected to the vitality of human life and the amazing life force that sustains us. In Latin green is viridis and in the spiritual teachings of Hildegard von Bingen, a mystic, she often refers to viriditas or greenness that signifies the life-force and the freshness of life. I associate this “greenness” with my recent learning and training in developing and enhancing dynamic alignment. Through attention to the natural structure and function of our bodies a focus on dynamic alignment provides our fascinating bodies with what they need to be vital and healthy.
Attending to breath as a natural way to improve and sustain health, engaging in movement and moving in ways that support the natural design of the body reaps countless benefits that ripple through physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health. Through the vitality gained we are in a better position to pay attention to our actions, how we react and respond to situations and to others. We become better able to surpass our personal vulnerabilities and open up to connection with others. We open up to new ways of seeing the world. We can begin to focus on contributing to peace in the world and we are able to avoid adding to fear and violence that can take so many forms. This is another way to be green.
Green is often thought of as synonymous with the attention given to the environment and the health of the planet. Being green is something we strive to be (Original Green, October 31, 2011). Awareness of the importance of the environment and how we treat it has increased over the years. The cycle of life for humans and within nature is interrelated and something we are realizing we need to return our attention to. The definitions and associations of “being green” meaning immature or unripe have all been lost to the “being green” related to the environment. Politicians, economists, businessmen, everyone seem to jump on the “being green” bandwagon hoping that it will improve progress toward their goals no matter whether they have anything to do with being green or not.
Green is the colour of the food that I love, that being salad. Growing lettuce this year in our community garden plot was a blast. Watching it sprout and develop into nice big leaves that were so, so very tasty was a great experience. The green chard and kale were pretty good too. Oh yeah and so were the beans, the peas and the green onions. The vibrant colour of the flowers awash in the sea of green is heaven for my eyes. So much good green!
I wore my favourite green sweater yesterday. I found it in a thrift store on the island last year. It is obviously hand knit, it is so cozy, just the right warmth, is has great buttons and it is a perfect green. It almost makes me completely blend in with the bushes and that may come in handy some day.
Irene McDermott © 2011