Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Purple (11/05/09)
TITLE: Taking Time to Smell the Roses
By Marlene Bonney
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God’s orchestra, playing the symphony of autumn, falls on deaf and jaded ears as humankind rushes by in frivolous frenzied pursuits. A child on a playground swing giggles as a falling leaf grazes across his chubby face while the wonder of his limited universe continually amazes him. Innocence personified, the toddler gives carefree praise to God by enjoyment of His creation, living to love and to receive love, his heart unbroken from misplaced loyalties or past relationships.
Then, hours later, another miracle: a sunset so superbly beautiful, so breathtaking, that evening commuters gasp in awe, I among them. Several variegated shades of purple are painting the sky and clouds in soft, rippling blankets, like un-spun cotton candy spreading across the horizon.
“God never needs a paint-by-number,” I wonder in awe, “for His colors defy imagination.”
I try to count and label each shade visible in the gathering dusk:
Hazy lilac unsuccessfully hiding behind a lone tree, a perfect backdrop for the leafless branches set in still relief against the heaven’s canvas, reminding me of our purple lilac bush that had bloomed earlier, fading as seasons changed. Beyond that, mauve wisps appear only to disappear, like escaped tendrils of soft hair that are quickly tucked beneath a ladies’ Easter bonnet. Pigments of lavish orchid blend into resplendent plum hues, spiraling down as if to catch up with the darkening sun rays’ rapid descent. A narrow strip of heliotrope color begins to widen and disperse into folds, stirring a memory of a portrait in my great-grandmother’s house of a distant proper English ancestor’s half-mourning dress. Shadows lengthen, causing some layers of magenta surrounding the sun to darken into more of a shade of indigo. I catch my breath as periwinkle rays shoot out from each side of my vision, as true to their namesake’s flowers still blooming in my garden.
As dusk progresses, all the purple shades wrap themselves behind the twilight, darkening and folding like a bridesmaid’s velvet gown crushed between layers of tissue paper stored away in a cedar chest. And, one by one and then, ten by ten, stars emerge, freckling the sky’s expanse in winking splendor. Lastly, the darkened mulberry splays of remaining light are covered with night’s repose.
Later that night, I close my eyes and try to replay the sunset in all its glory, coveting those brief moments when purple became my favorite color.
I have never seen, before or since, such a magnificent sunset, although I have repeatedly tried to mix my palette colors into a painted version of the miracle playing across the heaven’s expanse that night. But my renditions are pale and insignificant beside the matchless, absolute perfection of God’s creation, and I realize I will never capture the full effect of His performance that day.
That day in late autumn, when undressed trees laid stark against the sky and purple became my favorite color.
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