My birthday is gold and gray.
I was born on a rainy Thanksgiving morning in Atlanta, Georgia. The weather was truly terrible, I'm told. My parents had gone to the hospital the night before; I was their first baby and they weren't sure about my mother's "gas pain" but they figured it was a good idea to get it checked out, especially since I wasn't due for another three weeks or so. It was no gas pain, though. I really was on my way. My father was not allowed to stay while my mother labored; this was the 1970's, but things were old-fashioned at the oldest hospital in Atlanta. He ended up taking a walk in the neighborhood, the rain soon driving him indoors for something hot to drink - at a lunch counter where some guy offered to sell him a gun. He declined, and went back to the hospital, where I was soon born. The rain continued. Nobody else gave birth in the hospital that day; my parents were given a cafeteria-made Thanksgiving dinner. While they ate, they came up with a new name for me, the original slightly Christmas-y one no longer appropriate.
My birthday brings a comforting sameness, always falling on or near the holiday. My birthday is turkey dinner, in some stage of being prepared, eaten or recovered from. It's "Alice's Restaurant" and "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" played on a Sony turntable - mood music for gusty November. It's the Macy's parade on TV and the scent of sauteed celery and onions permeating the house. It's almost never a school or work day. It's people of all ages asking, "Hey, wasn't that the date of JFK's assassination?" (It's one day later). It's a real birthday cake even when it would be easier to stick a candle in a pumpkin pie. It's pumpkin pie and birthday cake, no questions asked, if I feel like having both.
Weather-wise, my born-day seems to have set the precedent for my birthday ever after. I've spent my birthday in several parts of this country and it has almost always rained, or been dismal and dark, or even snowy on my birthday. I was not born at a delightful time of year. Late November is dreary and wet in many places. It's brisk, too; my birthday is often one of those blustery, chilly days when clouds scud across the sky, sunshine peeking out weakly from time to time. You need a jacket. You might even need a hat or a scarf. You certainly need a hot beverage; for me, it's milky tea sipped from a thermos bottle as the clouds gather and loom. If you're like me, you've been watching the sky for months, sky-watching being a pastime which picks up in urgency as the weather cools down and becomes more temperamental. Late fall is one of the best times to watch the sky, and I always do it on my birthday.
Golden, too, is the landscape in late November, when the trees are completing their autumnal transformation. Leaves are falling from the trees, gathering in the roof-gutters, skittering across streets. Grasses are yellowing and curling, dry and crisp on the ground. Many of my childhood birthdays, and some of my adulthood ones, were spent in the northeast, where the trees were nearly bare by late November, black branches clawing leaden skies. Now my birthdays are spent in the southwestern desert. By my birthday, the trees' colors are fading but most leaves remain. The colors look brighter against a stormy sky. Last year, in late afternoon on the day before my birthday, I stood at the back garden wall, gazing up the arroyo. The sun shone for the first time all day, casting bright rays eastward toward the mountain, lighting up the trees. They glowed in the gloom, flashes of ocher, chartreuse and burnt orange. The sky beyond was dark and forbidding, slate-gray with bits of cobalt between the shifting clouds. By morning, it was snowing. We built a fire. Outside, the leaves shone through the falling snow. It was another gold-and-gray birthday.
Happy first birthday to the Color Collaborative! Many happy returns. I've thoroughly enjoyed working with this group of ladies over the past several months. If you'd like to read more of my Color Collaborative posts, click here, or use the button I've installed on my sidebar. Thanks for reading and supporting our creative blogging endeavors.
Fabric photos in first collage are from Etsy. Topaz jewelry photos in second collage are from Pinterest, Etsy and gemstone information websites. Trees photo in third collage is my own.
Don't forget to visit the other Color Collaborative blogs for more of this month's posts. Just click on the links below:
Annie at Knitsofacto
Sandra at Cherry Heart
Gillian at Tales from a happy house.
CJ at Above the River
What is The Color Collaborative?
All creative bloggers make stuff, gather stuff, shape stuff, and share stuff. Mostly they work on their own, but what happens when a group of them work together? Is a creative collaboration greater than the sum of its parts? We think so and we hope you will too. We'll each be offering our own monthly take on a color related theme, and hoping that in combination our ideas will encourage us, and perhaps you, to think about color in new ways.