Tuesday, May 10, 2005

For a 9-year-old in 1970, the height of coolness was having the big box of crayola crayons - 64 colors, with an actual crayon sharpener embedded in the back of the box. Or at least I thought it was the height of coolness, perhaps because during the last year in which crayons were part of the required school supplies that my mother bought for me, she would only pay for the box with 48 crayons.

The names for the colors ranged from the simply descriptive (orange red, very no-nonsense) to the antique (burnt sienna, a color name that Michelangelo Buonarotti would recognize, more or less) to the inscrutable (bittersweet, which I seem to recall was a kind of barf brown).

As I walked to work this morning, surveying the leaves that are at last making their joint appearance thanks to several days of rain, I thought: spring green. An evocative name, the best in the box. With a name like that, it could be no other color than it is.

The Swedish word for the day is pensel. It is a false cognate, and means paintbrush. Blyertspenna is the Swedish word for pencil.

- by Francis S.

No comments: