I come from a land full of colour, very much like a rustic patchwork quilt; shades of orange, blending and shifting between the ochres and russets and whispers of dappled blues and greens.
It's really the colour of my life.
A hazy, dusty landscape at the close of day; on the horizon, swords of orange swiping through the glowing sky.
The muted tones of Africa, my homeland, warming my heart at the very thought of her, filling my being with her golden hue.
Orange flame lilies springing boldly from the crunchy dryness of the bushveld.
Granite kopjies (hills) stippled with orange and burnt umber, enlivening the greys and khaki brown with vibrant richness from the paintbox of our Creator.
I remember those wonderful oranges grown in the Mazoe Valley, sweet and pure and the colour of life! Squeezed fresh, they tasted of family holidays and picnics by the lake.
I was freckle-faced and red-haired, although some called it golden or strawberry-blonde, with rays of orange running through - like copper wire - Mum called it.
My first pair of 'platform' shoes as a thirteen year old were orange. How I loved them! Shiny, mustard-orange with ankle straps; how trendy and grown up I felt. I think they probably 'matched' my meagre wardrobe, such as it was, as I don't recall having much fuschia pink or purple at the time, but I do remember shades of apricot and orange.
My Christmas treat one year was a frock of orange and caramel icecream swirls, with a peasant-style neckline and sleeves. I floated around the lawn that day, amidst the relatives and fruitcake, under a warm, orange-tinged sky, which belied heavy rain clouds. We knew from Christmases passed, that soon we'd hear that gutteral boom and crack of thunder, announcing that this indeed was Christ's birthday!
I think of the floppy, little marmalade bush I bought Dad for his birthday one year, next to a stiff strelitzia standing regal and proud; so different, yet complimenting each other in their diversity.
And I mustn't forget the bougainvilleas which sprung up wherever you looked, and which I certainly took for granted; deep purples and pinks to quiet salmon and raging oranges and reds.
But most vivid and recent of my memories of 'orange' are of the Msasa trees, an ever-present and ever-changing part of the natural landscape; the colours of their glorious leaves shifting with the seasons through wet times and dry, the greens turning to muted yellows and golds, to burnished orange and russet and brick; a joyous celebration of God's cycle of life.
When God put in place that burning brilliance called our sun, He knew it needed to be set apart and magnificent in its ferocity. And so it is! The colour of fire which nothing surpasses, is a constant reminder of God's vibrance and power.
'Orange' conjours up so many thoughts as I meditate on my life and God's grace and blessing. Like topaz gems lighting up those sweet memories, orange truly is the colour of my life.
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