Having found lists of obscure/obsolete color names and rounded out the alphabet with a few simply-charming-to-me colors, each day, I’ll introduce a color and a swatch I’ve painted and then write about whatever comes to mind as I muse about the day’s color. Fair warning, my mind is a non-linear traveler, so who knows where my contemplations will take us.
K is for… kōbai-iro: red plum colored
Musing on this lovely color and its name, my mind escorted me to two more of my fascinations – time and Japanese culture.
I have long known working with cyclical rhythms – particularly lunar and seasonal – is optimal for me, and have dedicated my life to this pattern. I’m blessed in many, many ways, but one I’m especially grateful for is the fact that I’m an entrepreneur and, thus, in charge of my own schedule. We’re all given the same 24 hours a day, but I can tweak how I spend mine endlessly. It’s especially helpful to be able to maximize peak creative times and honor those natural times when my energy dips.
But of course, that’s not the primary rhythm of our society or world in general, and so sometimes it’s really helpful (and comforting) to return for a dose of encouragement from those who honor this way as well.
To that effect, one of my favorite books about time is Waverly Fitzgerald’s Slow Time: Recovering the Natural Rhythm of Life. I’ve always found Waverly’s work to be thoughtful and thought-provoking, and she was an expert at observing and working within seasonal frameworks. This book explores various rhythms in time, and peeks at various cultures and various time periods as well. So Slow Time is a well-thumbed friend I’ve re-read many times.
Another delightful source of inspiration for me is both the Chinese and Japanese cultures. The ancient Chinese used a 24-segment seasonal calendar based both on solar and lunar events, and nuanced to be helpful to their agrarian society.
The Japanese took this idea to a whole new level, and in 1685 astronomer Shibukawa Shunkai re-wrote it into 72 micro seasons. And, of course, with the renowned connection to nature and honoring of beauty so often displayed by the Japanese culture, the names of these seasons read like poetry. For example, Mist Starts to Linger; First Rainbows; Hawks Learn to Fly; and perhaps my favorite, Dew Glistens White on Grass.
If this sounds like something that interests you, there is a 72 Seasons app available.
Something else I’ve been charmed by is the book A Year in Japan by Kate T. Williamson. She’s an illustrator and author who spent a year in Japan and documented the everyday aspects of life with charming watercolors and brief text.
As much as I’m interested in the more mundane aspects of time, I’m also interested in the more sacred/spiritual considerations as well. I’ve been musing about this admonishment from Hafiz:
“This is the time For you to deeply compute the impossibility That there is anything But Grace. Now is the season to know That everything you do Is sacred.”
But not all wisdom comes from the poet/philosophers. I’ve often found it inside fortune cookies. The eating of which I often do in my leisure time.
What about you? How do you think about time? Are you a fan of plums? Love fortune cookies? Have a favorite season? Do tell – you know I love to hear.
Slow Time is such a lovely book! It’s so gentle and encouraging. I will have a look for the 72 Seasons app.
(I also like plums!)
Gentle and encouraging are perfect descriptors for Waverly’s work. I imagine you’d like the app, Kathleen.
I prefer prunes to plums (go figure – age?) but I do love the color.
My A to Z Blogs
DB McNicol – Small Delights, Simple Pleasures, and Significant Memories
My Snap Memories – My Life in Black & White
Prunes have made me laugh ever since I heard a child ask if they were giant raisins.
mmmmm Plums… and they tend to be best as my favourite season arrives… Autumn (fall)… YAM xx
I definitely love plums as well, Yamini.
I did not know that Japanese word, but that shade (and similar to it) is my favorite color. 🙂
Oh, how perfect! I think it’s a really lovely color as well.
My first thought on fortune cookies is that I often feel I’ve been given someone else’s fortune by mistake. “You would be well suited to a technological career” is not really ME. *laugh* The most encouraging fortune I’ve gotten recently was “several good ideas will come to you this week.”
I do love the idea of 72 microseasons. And the names are like micropoems, which is lovely. 🙂
Ah, I see you must be a fortune attractor Mrs. Fever – pulling other’s fortunes to you. It might be one of your superpowers. 🙂
Micropoems is the perfect term for the seasons’ names.
I must say that the Japanese have such beautiful and unique practices and concepts for living a better life. 72 micro seasons seems like agreat way to reflect more specific changes in weather, plants, and animals and everything around us. Will check out 72 Season app. Thanks for inspiring, Deborah.
I agree, Shilpa. In my mind, there is something so lovely about being so observant of nature. And the Japanese have so much to teach us about honoring and celebration.
I am a fan of plums, and although there are other dark fruits and green ones too, I like to think that I could pick their skins out from a close-up because their colours are distinctive. Once again, an enjoyable ramble from you Deborah…
I bet you could distinguish them by their colors, Andrew! And thanks for your kind words.
As soon as I saw the colour, I went OMG! had just finished relishing a very juicy plum–same colour and absolutely divine.
Then I read the ‘seasonal’ tone of this post and wondered if eating plums (easily available in Doha but grown and transported all the way from South Africa) is right or wrong…
Will be checking out the 72 seasons app. Cheers:)
How fun about the plum! I believe all things want to be seen and appreciated, and relishing your plum honors the gift it gave you. Win-win, no matter the season. And I have no doubt you’ll enjoy the app, Arti – it’s such a poetic way of looking at things. –
Lovely name- sounds so exotic and the color is absolutely divine too. I love the fact how you have related this post with books and seasons. I havent read this book but it sounds intriguing.
Yay for entrepreneurship and being able to command your time sched – it truly is a liberating feel and I hope the streak stays on.
I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Shalini, and the color as well. I’m truly grateful for the freedom entrepreneurship has provided me.
Although I love plum color, I don’t like plums themselves. Being an entrepreneuse would provide lovely flexibility but also require motivation that I don’t seem to have these days. Of course, being retired means I don’t have to be on any time schedule except my own!
Is it plums, in particular, you don’t like, or is it all stone fruit? And no question, there are definite benefits to being retired. 🙂