I have a wonderful story about an orange.
Some years ago, (my husband) Noel and I were at a breathwork training at a place in California called Pocket Ranch. It was situated in a little valley surrounded by hills, and in some of the other valleys there were a few ranches, but the area was for the most part devoid of civilized life. One morning, on our “free day,” we decided to go for a little walk. We signed out at about 9:30 a.m., intending to be back before lunch.
We brought with us a rather sketchy little map which later turned out to be deficient in a crucial way. At any rate, we set out, armed with a flask of water and some sunscreen. We remembered to wear our hats, since it could get very hot out there.
It was a beautiful, clear day, and we went up hill and down dale and enjoyed ourselves. I saw steam coming out of the ground at one point and found that it was coming up a sort of tube. I learned later that this was evidence of volcanic action, deep in the earth beneath us. In time we circled around back toward the ranch, but decided to climb to the top of a hill that supposedly had a good view. It did in fact have an impressive view of hills and valleys that seemed to go on forever. Instead of going back down the way we came up, we decided to go down the OTHER side of the hill. This was so steep I could barely manage it upright, and finally went down backwards, slipping and sliding on the loose pebbles. We walked and walked, but now nothing looked familiar. We realized we were now out of the bounds of our little map. We kept walking.
It got to be lunchtime, and we had run out of water. The day in fact WAS very hot, and I began to have trouble keeping up with Noel. Finally, we had to retrace our steps. And, after that, as it got to be late afternoon, I sent Noel on ahead. I couldn’t walk more than a few feet at a time. While he was away, I could think of nothing but oranges—big, juicy oranges. I think I was hallucinating by this time. I lay in the middle of the road, thinking of oranges. I would then walk a few feet and lie down again. A huge orange, dripping with juice, would place itself in my line of vision. The sun was starting to go down.
I could actually hear the supper bell! Were they having oranges for supper, I wondered?
Then I could hear the sound of a truck on gravel. I couldn’t believe it—could a car actually get up here? Sure enough, here they came, Noel and the ranch caretaker. I sat on the side of the road, stunned. Then Noel got out of the truck and handed me an orange!
The colour orange, the colour of joy, of pumpkins and sunsets, of turning leaves in Autumn. The colour of a hot flame, glowing in all its glory. The colour of the wrapper on Hallowe’en Kisses. The colour of the orange as it hangs from the tree. The colour of liquid B vitamins, poured slowly into a transparent spoon, tasting orange, looking orange. The colour of a basketball, the colour of the net. The colour of a gold fish, the colour of the rind around bologna. I always wondered where that came from, that kind of orange.
Orange is the colour of a section on a beachball. The colour of vitamin C and the colour of my favourite old lamp, that I gave away so I would know I wasn’t too attached to this little, beautifully-designed piece of material good. Orange is the colour of the Baltimore Oriole that used to sit outside my window, and orange is the colour of my friend Bernie’s car, the car that could go anywhere and yet remain invisible.
Orange is the colour of my favourite pillow and orange is the colour of hair that mystifies and frightens adults and children alike.
Orange is the colour of my favourite lime chutney and it is the colour of my favourite hat. Orange canvas sits in my cedar chest, waiting patiently for me to figure out what’s to be done with it. Orange is the colour of the harvest moon. Orange is the colour of the jack-o-lantern, those magnificent little blooms, and orange is the colour of the rug that warms the hardwood floor in my room. Orange is the colour of joy, the colour of smiles, the colour of laughter. It is the taste of vibrancy, aliveness, and the surprise mixture of sweet and sour. Orange is the taste of thirst-quenching freshness and the smell of non-toxic oven cleaner and hand cleaners and paint thinner and the extract, the oil, is the one that cuts through all the haze and fogginess, bringing one quickly back to one’s senses.
Orange is the colour of clarity, of delight, the colour made by blending the cautious yellow with the passionate red—orange is where they ignite in the centre, and spread a unified glow from there.
“Orange” is word #72, and can be found in Volume One on pages 143 and 144.