wordless wednesday with words

This is a picture of *a room lit yellow, which may appear orange, which forces me to tell both an orange story and a yellow one.


I love everything about orange, the vibrancy of the colour, the spelling and sound of the word — it sounds awake  — and the smell of orange blossoms and how that orange tasted right off the tree that time a thousand years ago in Florida and how avocados grew nearby and the way Florida grass feels on bare feet, different than our grass, and the rain that day, coming down so hard I wanted to cancel our flight but the Florida people said don’t worry, it never lasts, and it didn’t, and the tangerine tree near the avocado one and the dear Peruvian woman who picked a bagful of tangerines and ate them as she walked home while the Florida people clucked their tongues and said they were too full of seeds.


I am nine or maybe seven. I am in my room when the door slams open and my dad stands there in his Hawaiian shirt, a Sweet Caporal between his lips, the smoke making him squint as he yells What’s your favourite colour???? and the volume and intensity of the question, the shirt, the smoke, the squinting, it unsettles me, terrifies me a little if one can be only slightly terrified, and I’m not ready with an answer and I can see that he’s expecting one quickly. He is not a man who likes to wait around for things when he’s wearing his Hawaiian shirt because that means he’s working at something in the house or the yard and is in no mood for dawdling. I can barely think of ANY colour much less my favourite. Do I have a favourite? Yellow, I say, and then he leaves (goes to Canadian Tire as it turns out) and returns with a gallon of paint and before you know it the walls of my room (and the ceiling) are canary yellow and before long so is my toothbrush and a new pair of slippers and jeans and pyjamas and it feels like every gift I’m ever given from that moment on is yellow. It’s only when I move into my own place that I can avoid yellow and I avoid it for decades, including being the yellow piece in board games. And then one day it stops. And, along with orange (and turquoise and green), it becomes my actual favourite colour.


* The yellow room is an installation (by Kosisochukwu Nnebe) at The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, currently part of an exhibition called ‘Made of Honey, Gold and Marigold’.



10 thoughts on “wordless wednesday with words

    1. Would be an interesting experiment to see if various groups of colours are generally appealing to the same people. If those who like blue also like violet, that kind of thing. One theory goes that we’re drawn to certain colours at different times and for various reasons. Colour has always been a powerful thing to me. (I wonder if this is where it started…)

  1. Oh my gosh Carin, this room is exquisite. It is so sunny and airy without being glare-y and so simple. I am trying to figure out exactly what the purpose of the room is (not that there has to be a reason for it to be.) And as always, I love the words that give such life to your thoughts and observations.

    1. The room is an installation as part of a three-artist exhibition called ‘Made of Honey, Gold, and Marigold’, exploring light. But even if it were in a house I think its purpose would end up being the same as it is here in the gallery, which is to offer a surprising slice of calmness. Despite noises outside this space, sitting in this chair for even a few minutes was a tiny meditation. I won’t forget the feeling, the sense of it. And I’ll be going back to bask there again soon…

  2. In general I”m not a fan of installation art but I absolutely love this! The colour the soft mysteriousness of the hangings, everything. Please ask the McLauchlin Gallery if I can come and camp there.

    1. The power of its sheer (pun intended) simplicity is really quite something. It would be interesting to see what happens if the light were changed to green or red or blue…

  3. What Allison said about the room, so airy and sunny and simple. Yellow isn’t usually the most restful colour, it seems to me, but here it is. Also:

    Nature rarer uses yellow (by Emily Dickenson)

    Nature rarer uses yellow
    Than another hue;
    Saves she all of that for sunsets, –
    Prodigal of blue,

    Spending scarlet like a woman,
    Yellow she affords
    Only scantly and selectly,
    Like a lover’s words.

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