Fall Reflections

October 31, 2012

Fall is perhaps my favorite time of the year, though Ill admit each season has its perks. But fall… {{{sigh…}}} Fall is enchanting, with sweaters to snuggle in when the evenings get crisp. Harvest season is rich with hearty fruit, pumpkins, and squash. It’s the season for big pots of warm, simmering goodness on the weekend stove, football on TV – or in the stands if you can get there.

And colors. Almost like a pre-payment for the stark, gray winter to come, fall wants to fill our senses with striking color and scenes that make us gasp. That is to say…. if we can see their glory.

I have a dear friend I’ve known for (YIKES!) about forty years. He’s a genius, with a University of Michigan double major in engineering, and a quick wit. He’s funny, gentle, a bit crazy. And he’s color-blind.

I never thought much about color-blindness before I met him. He taught me that color-blindness doesn’t necessarily mean the person can’t see any color at all. My friend can’t distinguish red and green.

He’s learned to cope by reading food labels instead of relying on sight-recognition for choosing flavors at the grocery store or buying decaf versus regular coffee. He keeps a simple wardrobe, so he doesn’t clash. Traffic lights are always oriented with red on the top or on the left for people like my friend, and about the only thing that makes him hesitate is a single flashing traffic light: is it red or is it yellow? He stops at all of them.

The fall colors, though, elude him. When you and I see brilliant red or a kaleidoscope of oranges, reds, yellows, and green he sees the trees as he always sees them, a non-descript sort of brownish-neutral. They are like that for him every day of the year.

So, it’s in the fall that I often think of him. The trees remind me that everyone gets different gifts in this lifetime, and they remind me to appreciate mine. I like to think that God has given or planned some special compensation for Donald to make up for the red-green color-blindness, for missing out year after year of seeing the beauty of the things right in front of him, while he’s surrounded by others’ oooohs and aaaahhhhs. I’m also sure that he enjoys other gifts that I don’t, and that somehow eases my mind.


© 2012, J. Cools

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