As you know, I’ve been on a bit of a jag lately about the color red. It symbolizes so much to me, not the least of which is the strong red heart that beats passionately inside all of us, the love of our children and family. The extended family of friends and people in our lives we just cannot do without. Red also symbolizes heritage, and bloodline, and of course the shedding of blood. We give red roses to those that stir our passion and make our insides sing. Red is considered a good luck color, a happy color, the color of life and virility. It can also be synonymous with anger.
When I was 5 I had a crush on the boy who lived across the street, and his mother was a professional model. She modeled with her poodle, who was dyed apricot pink and was a horrible dog (and I’m a dog lover). Peter’s mom used to show us how to put on makeup, and one day, she made us all up with all her heavy stuff, including red lipstick. I’m notsure what was in her makeup, but my lips swelled up so big I talked like a Botox devotee. It wasn’t funny at all. My mother took me to the Emergency Room, where everyone had to come in and look at my big bright red lips. I was humiliated. The puffiness lasted for nearly 24 hours. Even with cold cream, I couldn’t get the color off. My mother was convinced I had been somehow cursed by “that woman across the street.”
Red is still my favorite color today. I love my new red glasses. I’ve got red sparkly nail polish I got while at RWA in Kansas City two years ago, and I’ve continued since. No, “I’m not in Kansas anymore” but I still like the glittery polish. My nail lady tries to talk me out of it every time I go. On the few occasions I let her convince me, I am back at her shop one to two days later demanding my red be put back on.
My favorite foods are red: strawberries, cherries, red tomatoes. My favorite wines are red. I love writing scenes where the hero or heroine blushes red. My favorite Lifesavers and jelly beans are red.
The color red means love. We know love comes in many forms, but in it’s purest, simplest form, it is intimate, hushed, felt rather than spoken. We say our heart goes pitter-pat or pounds in our ears when this intense emotion is felt. The body is in a heightened sense of arousal when we are in love. The world looks prettier, the sunsets more bright or golden, the colors of the sky more intense, and we smile more at little things. Life is precious.
So it is with this sense of being precious that I leave you. Because we value life, because we value love and are willing to be hurt by it over and over again and still come back for more, with the hope we’ll find it again. Because there is romance and fullness and true love in the world. To believe in love is to believe in possibility, and, as I recently read John Steinbeck say,
“If it is right, it happens–The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.”
Honoring those who came before or who shed their blood for us is I think the highest form of love. The best way to show that honor and love is to live our fullest. To make sure each day is not wasted. To fill ourselves with hope.