Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Columns

April 27, 2014

Cardinal red, dandelion yellow: Calendar marks arrival of spring colors

— — Four days until May. I’ve been counting down the timeline since November, when the last of the brilliant fall foliage fell from the trees and the gloom of winter’s foreboding appearance descended.

Autumn is not a bad time in Appalachia. Scarlet hues and bright yellows echo across the mountains. It is a season that heralds a last blast of color before winter’s white blanket covers the hilly terrain.

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The white landscape that greets us from December through February is a pristine slate. Splashes of color during these months come from red toboggans and winter coats in a rainbow of bright hues.

Our landscape is desolate but our fashions pop.

We pull on purple gloves and brightly colored tights in an effort to stave off winter’s chill. How lovely it would be if color could ward off the cold.

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March ushers in a muddy month. Rain, snow and sunshine skip across her 31 days. Sandal season one day, boots the next. Who knows how to dress during this persnickety month.

And April, well she’s not much better than her twin sister who brings ides of gloom. Easter egg hunts can take place under sunny skies or amid four inches of snow.

That’s how things go in Four Seasons Country.

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May is different. She is the calendar’s Crayola box. The color begins in yards awaiting mowers, and brush that dots the landscape between manicured lawns and forests awakening with young life. Thorny green briars spring forth with their trademark hue, and forests take on a hint of green.

Tulip tree poplars show a tint of color on branches. By month’s end their limbs will be filled with peach and cream blossoms. Towering above the forest floor, only those with a discerning eye will see the incredible display of beauty.

Meanwhile, manicured yards will come alive with creamy colored snowball blooms and pastel lilacs on bushes gracing the edges of well-groomed grass.

Wilted yellow daffodils will be replaced by pink peonies springing from the dirt, and white trillium will cascade from the shadows of Appalachian mountains.

Homes emanating a gentle touch will be graced by the sight of young fawns prancing and parading in the rays of spring’s afternoon sunshine. White spots speckled on tan coats announce their youth and vibrancy to the world.

Is there a better sight than young deer traipsing on blades of grass weary from winter’s toil?

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As a child, the 64-color Crayola box was one of my best friends. I took comfort in her hues, and prided myself in selecting the best shades for the plethora of drawings in my many coloring books.

In my world the bodice of Snow White’s dress was always blue-violet; Native American teepees were shaded in burnt sienna.

There are constants in life, and mine began with colors at the age of 5.

Carnation Pink was problematic. It was a Barbie color that did not fit well with many coloring book scenarios. How many evil queens sport shades of blush? It’s a color that haunts me to this day.

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My work on Prerogative magazine allows me to indulge in my love of colors by blending hues to coordinate with those found in our photos.

I smile every time I see the color library I share with Lifestyles Editor Jamie Null.

“Chartreuse,” “gunmetal blue,” “Sunkist orange” and “trillium burgundy” are among our descriptive titles. But there are also a few we’re not so fond of — “gross green” and “puke green” come to mind.

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In a few weeks, I will be heading to the local greenhouse where I will  bask in the plethora of brightly colored petals.

The rainbow of colors displayed in row upon row of plants will spur me to overindulge in my shopping and leave with an SUV filled with flowers.

Soon, it will be my porches sporting rainbows.

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A recent walk on a sunny afternoon bolsters my color courage.

Bright yellow coltsfoot wildflowers spring forth from dreary dirt, announcing the arrival of warmer weather. And spring beauties, white blossoms tinged with a hint of pink, herald the arrival of a new season.

Bright purple hyacinth blooms shine under the shade of vibrant forsythia blossoms, heralding a new day in the Appalachian Mountains.

The shades of spring are upon us.

Cardinal red. Robin’s breast orange. Dandelion yellow.

May’s crayon box is almost open.

Samantha Perry is editor of the Daily Telegraph. Contact her at sperry@bdtonline. com. Follow her @BDTPerry.

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