The honeybees love me! Well, at least they never sting me as we work side by side in the flower beds—me watering and weeding, they gathering nectar and pollinating. It’s the middle of September; the nights are cold, but it has yet to frost. The sunny yellows of the marigolds, calendulas and black-eyed Susans have never been so bright, and the scarlet, pink and peach hues of the roses have never been so vivid. Even the sunflowers, purple coneflowers and poppies, though weary and heavy-laden with seed, are still blooming satisfactorily.
The bees and I know that it’s just a matter of days before the flowers will be frostbitten, their brilliance turned to brown and black dullness. To ease the pain of color-lovers who inhabit cold climates, the good Lord—a master of garden design if there ever was one—has provided for dazzling autumn displays of red, orange and yellow that even outshine the intense, smiling hues of mums and asters. Already the current bushes are turning crimson, and the green is fading in the aspen and cottonwoods.
In a few months, when there’s nothing but neutrals—white snow, tan grass, grey trunks and branches—I’ll be ever so grateful for the few splotches of color that I still have: the red-orange rose hips and a few young juniper and blue spruce trees. (Why didn’t we plant more of those? I’ll wonder.) And I’ll be even more thankful that our home, barn and outbuildings aren’t the neutrals we’d originally considered, but are a cheery barn red with white trim and hunter green roofs. My color focus will have shifted indoors as I merrily deck the halls in preparation for Christmas. (Don’t worry about the bees. By then, they’ll have been transported to the West Coast and will be buzzing about from one almond blossom to another.)
Color is a miracle which dictionaries and the science of physics try to explain in vague terms such as, “An attribute of things that results from the light they reflect, transmit, or emit in so far as this light causes a visual sensation that depends on its wavelengths.” (Huh?) To me, color in nature is just more proof that our Creator loves people (hey, He could have designed the world in grayscale and we’d have never known the difference) and that He’s not near as austere as we sometimes suppose. The next time you pass a zinnia or a viola, look closely—you might just see God grinning.