“WE are colour” she said. “We are every colour that you have ever seen and many that you have not. We are pastel shades, and gem hues. We are bright and clear colours. We are dark and cloudy. We are prisms. Sparkling in the sun and reflecting in the cool of the moonlight. All of us are colour but, we never show all our colours at the one time”. Usually, we try to show our beautiful sides, the ones that everyone likes to see us in but that means our dark facets are at the back. They are there but we try to hide them most of the time because when they come to the front, they are ugly and dull muddy colours. No-one likes them.
She took a long draught on her clay stemmed pipe. The look of satisfaction on her ancient face. So many lines and skin the colour of fine polished chestnuts. Her eyes were watery blue? Like the gently flowing stream we sat beside. Her hands veined, arthritic and shiny. The grey smoke curled around her white wispy hair and away in to the air. I waited. Enjoying the calm that surrounded us. The unhurried pace, the knowing that there was more to come.
“People see Black, white, yellow, brown. They make judgements but what they don’t realise is that they are ALL these colours too, but only in a different order”. She let out an amused throaty chuckle, smiling to reveal teeth with gaps like a broken string of pearls. “I always found that bit funny” she said. “Like, those dim ones never realised that.
The four-leggeds don’t carry that baggage. They see colours of kindness, intelligence, security, danger or cruelty. They see who to trust-or-not shades. They know that there are colours that the great spirits see that us two-leggeds can’t. Well, the shamans can I think, but that is because they move between worlds. The main thing is that everywhere you look, everything you see is colour. Colours within colours. The grass on the prairie, the trees in the forests, the great oceans, the expanse of sky. All an explosion of it so why should we be any different eh? Why should we not be that as well. We are no more or less than every other living being in our universe. Even if we think we are more special than the rest of our world ”
This was not an invitation to answer really, apart from a slow nod of affirmation. “Do you know what one of the harshest and hardest colours is? The colour of money. That is a colour of destruction and greed but a necessity unfortunately. It is there and we can’t get rid of it, but child, beware it. Don’t use it on the canvas of your life any more than you need to. It will draw you to it but the pot will never be enough. Stick to the natural ones and paint your life with them instead.” This time the pipe had died and so she relit it, drawing in and letting out a little series of puffs.
“ We come from one of the prettiest colours of all you know. We are made from starlight. Yes, we came from silver starlight, and that is why our children are so beautifully bright when they join us here on Earth, Fresh from the night sky above us, I always told my children that when our loved ones leave us, be them four-leggeds or our two-leggeds, that’s where they go back to. The stars. Well, Nobody has given me a better idea yet anyhow!” That smile again that lit up her face.
She made to stand up, her turquoise beads and ear-rings chinking as she did. I walked back with her in affectionate silence and stopped at the crossroads. “ I must leave you now and you must go back to your life child.” she said. “We will see each other again whenever you call me or need guidance. Through the prism of life”……. .. and my great great, long-deceased, Ojibwa grandmother was gone, until the next time.