The entire neighborhood is painted in autumn; red leaves on the maple tree across from my front window, loads of orange pumpkins in front of the Berkeley Bowl Market, and long, dark sunsets increase the night’s thick blanket of velvety blackness daily. But in the midst of all these warm, seasoned colors, I am feeling green.
I am a complete beginner in so many arenas of my life right now: I’m a new mom, a first-time author, an aspiring visual artist, and I am on the hunt to become a first-time home owner. It’s exhausting learning so much constantly. And, it is also beautiful.
The way we describe ourselves as “green” when we are not yet seasoned experts provides a reassuring image that inspires me to embrace this phase of tenderness. There is a small lime tree in my backyard; it has already burst from its seed, pushed its way from darkness through the soil, emerged into the light, and set itself up as an organism that lives directly from the elements of sunshine, fresh air and water. This tree has all of this experience behind her, and yet she is still completely green.
This green being extends roots down into the dirt and reaches constantly toward an infinite sky. As a young tree, she does not have a lot of structure, and she has very few protective layers on the outside.
But even when her bark turns brown, her leaves will remain green, and when her fruit finally ripens, green will be the color of readiness. Green is a sign of life, vibrancy, and fullness. She is bursting with potential and fresh with ideas, even as winter approaches. And her timing is all her own, which makes her brave.
I am working on a monochromatic art piece called Fifty Shades of Green that helps to express this spectrum of feeling. There is nothing wrong with being green. It is simply a moment in time between being a young seed of a tree and a full elder tree. Next time I catch myself being critical of my lack of experience, I will remember the young lime tree in our back yard and stand a little taller; embracing the inexperience with pride.
Eila Carrico is a weaver and wordsmith who delights in the mystery and magic of landscapes and memory. She grew up in rural central Florida, and was inspired by her studies in journalism, anthropology and religion to travel around the world and teach in Paris, Ghana, Thailand and India before settling in the Bay Area in 2008. Check out more of her work at: http://www.eilacarrico.com. The italicized quotes within this piece are from Eila’s upcoming book, The Other Side of the River debuting in 2016.