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.