Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Ambivalent Orange

Let's start the New Year afresh with this striking plant and the fruit it bears. It's a Queen Palm tree and the fruit starts out green and ends up orange. I was wondering if that's the way we all start out - a bit green. One of Shakespeare's characters, Cleopatra in this case, refers to her salad days, "when I was green in judgement, cold in blood. "That generally denotes youthfulness and inexperience and an inclination to rush into things without thinking. Of course green is much used in sayings. We are green with envy for example. But we are never orange with anything! Orange is such a nice colour and beloved of artists like Kandisky. "Orange is red brought closer to humanity by yellow." It is indeed a happy looking and it's often associated with vivid autumn shades and the Thanksgiving festival. Looking at the picture cheers me up but orange also has negative connections. Agent Orange was much used in the Vietnam War, destroying crops to terrible effect as well as harming soldiers who sprayed the substance. But the herbicide derived its name not from its own colour but from the striped drums used to transport it. It was a case of a dreadful substance shipped in a happy container.