Fifty Shades of Grey

That’s the Minnesota landscape in December. Fifty shades of grey. Bleak.

Sunshine produces warm greys. Clouds make cold, hard, dreary greys. But grey is grey and there is nothing sexy or erotic about Minnesota’s Fifty Shades!

I’m lucky. For the last week before I left Ubud for the holidays in Minnesota, my Balinese friends would find me staring off over the coconut palms and frangipani trees. “What’s wrong?” they were concerned. Usually I’m doing…something! Shaken from my reverie I explained that I was capturing mental pictures of the kaleidoscope of color, the five million shades of green, that I would need to sustain me through 50 days of Minnesota grey. They laughed. You see, they don’t get it. They don’t get grey, they don’t get cold, and they definitely don’t get snow! It isn’t their reality. Ever. But it was mine for many years. I knew what to expect.

fallen-leaves-tree-trunks-and-bare-branches-at-boyce-park_medium

Photo from Bing.com/images

I remembered a children’s story, Frederick by Leo Lionni, that I read to my girls years ago. While the other field mice worked to gather grain and nuts for winter, Frederick sat on a sunny rock by himself. “I gather sun rays for the cold dark winter days,” he told them. Another day he gathered “colors,” and then “words.” And when the food ran out, it was Frederick, the dreamer and poet, whose endless store of supplies warmed the hearts of his fellow mice, and fed their spirits during the darkest winter days.

So that’s what I did. I gathered the suns rays. I memorized the colors. I stored up all the brightest, happiest words to cheer me. I soaked up paradise…Bali-rice terraces (1)

And it almost worked…almost.

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