I am shopping for a green dress. To wear. No more pajamas, no more leggings with a tunic, no more sweats, no more jeans so loose they slide off with no need to unbutton or unzip. No more comfy camisole under a biggish t-shirt with an old cardigan on top. No more walking around all day with an afghan draped around me like a shawl, pretending it’s there because of the chill in the air and the rain coming down.
A green dress. New leaf green, my favorite color. Most people say one word: “blue, yellow, purple.” But, being me, I have always had qualifiers: fern green, spring green, light sage green. To really get the color, imagine that you are driving on GA 400, eight lanes rolling out of Atlanta to the northern suburbs and eventually up to the North Georgia mountains. The highway is lined on either side by the green belt—banks of kudzu and tall, dark, forest-green, long-needle pine trees. At just the right week of springtime, the shorter dogwoods and azaleas unroll fresh, new leaves. No blooms yet. Just lovely, fragile, pale green floating against the dark green. I lived in Atlanta for twelve years, and on such a spring day every year, I would be amazed by the beauty of that color and its ability to break me open again.
I am not going to be in Atlanta this spring. So I am shopping for a green dress to wear. To put on faith and zip it up. Proof that even in quarantine, I can grow a new tail.
Kentucky governor Andy Beshears asked his constituents to do two things during the time that he declared his state under quarantine. He asked churches to ring their bells every morning at 10:00 a.m. once for each Kentuckian who had died from Covid-19. Middletown Christian, my sister’s church in Louisville, does this every morning. Years ago, their bell was removed from their old building and placed in a short belfry on the lawn so that anyone can ring it. Now, every morning, I start my day with my sister’s video showing that day’s volunteer saying a few words followed by the tolling of the bell. Beshears also lit the Governor’s home with green lights, and he asked everyone to join him. He said, “Green is the color of compassion, it’s the color of empathy. It’s also a color of renewal.” At the end of his daily press conference, there is a slideshow of homes throughout Kentucky lit green.
Cosmin Perţa, a Romanian poet and novelist (translated into English by Tiberiu Neacșu and Chris Tanasescu) says it another way in his poem, “Green is the Color of Hope,”
Let’s not duck words, let’s not be hypocrites,
let’s not pretend we don’t care anymore,
that there’s nothing to be done
(even if there’s nothing to be done, there’s always something to be done).
I doubt if I will ever stop shopping for a green dress. But right now I am wearing my perfect green t-shirt and jeans that fit. I am going to take a walk in the sunshine in the spring green world (Yes, even Phoenix is green in springtime.). I am going to help someone, maybe just my own dear self, to put on faith, to shine a light on compassion, and to speak of hope.
Dear God, Thank you for Pantone 374 U. It is the color of my dress of faith. It is the color of my light of compassion. It is the color of my message of hope. Amen.
Lea Young is sheltering in place with her husband Terry. They have been members of SACC since 2016 and are members still, despite being in Phoenix for the duration. Lea can be reached at email@example.com.