Blue plaid for first-day dresses, carefully sewn by loyal mothers. Blue for vibrancy, excitement, stability: the color of winners. Blue for the verity of friendships forged in school days. Blue for fidelity, honor, courage at beginnings.
White for freshness, an unmarked year unbroken, sharp and novel as the new crayons with the perfect point—like our brand-new lesson plans, not yet dulled by the wandering eyes and restless bodies of an apathetic audience. All is new.
Red for second place, for mishap, for failed attempts. For knees skinned on the gym floor, for bloody noses after urgent softball plays in which the catch mattered more than the collision. Red for cheeks, faces, skin shining with exercise. Red flags on the field. Red caps on the birds we’ll watch out our window and log into our bird books. Red is failure to camouflage.
Green for the bean sprouts we’ll grow when we delve into biology and soil, green for the veggies that mothers tuck into lunches, green for the oh-so-tempting summer grasses out the window, when the approaching fall has failed to leave so much as a blush on the verdance. Green for all that is wholesome and growing, green for the life of the body and soul.
Yellow for joy, sunshine in sparkling windows, bright braids falling over shoulders. Yellow for classic number two pencils, smooth and unmoved between persistent pudgy fingers. Yellow for the buses, for the first few of the changing leaves.
Brown for the mundane, the practical sneakers and the chore charts. Brown for Wednesdays and bagged lunches and wheat bread sandwiches, brown for the things that raise strength slowly while the world is looking elsewhere.
Pink for vulnerability, uncertainty, the shy love of fingers that reach to hold a teacher’s.
Orange for energy, charisma, flamboyance: students who can’t morph docile flesh-colored to match their environs. Orange for surprises good and bad, for days when the mischief is running high for no discernible reason. Orange for the unpredictable, showing up when you least expect it.
Gray for days that don’t go.
Chartreuse for the intersection of novelty and ambivalence. Do we like it or do we not? Hmm.
Purple for the luxury of a comfortable building, the wealth of children who come, the pomp of being the answer giver when the answers are unknown. Purple for holding one’s head high, for doing the right thing, for remembering whose people we are.
Let the kaleidoscope begin.
CONTRIBUTOR: Shari Zook