Feeling Brown

For today, I’m departing from the usual fare here—perhaps because it’s school time and creative writing assignments inspire me—please allow me some poetic license as I explore the color brown… and perhaps you’ll want to add a comment about the color that most appeals to you!P1080253


Brown of hair and eye, and personality myself, I love the color brown. I once sat beside someone who scorned its flatness unknowingly and extolled the color pink which she wore and carried. She’s right. Pink is lovely too. But I’m most at home with brown.


The cedar shakes of the house Dad built when we were young were brown, a honeyed brown growing dark with age. The wood he lathed and loved was brown, whether golden like oak or rosy like cherry or with the dark dignity of walnut. Rich wood grain and softest leather, garden soil and firewood, all share the natural warmth of brown. Mud is brown too I suppose, but it is good company for bare toes, or mountain bikes exploring, or first pies or desert toads. Brown is no flat dull monochrome. Consider cinnamon and nutmeg, root beer and dear old ‘Shags’ (my childhood mutt)— all brown things I’ve loved.


And don’t forget chocolate. Who doesn’t love it? Whether milk or dark, chips or syrup, brownies, mousse or hot cocoa, all are variations of delicious brown as are the nuts that compliment them: almonds, pecans, walnuts; all are robed in brown. And did I mention caramel? Or better yet, penuche. Made from brown sugar, it is a treat, particularly on zucchini cupcakes!

But lest we get to salivating, consider just the words themselves that enliven the dull-sound of ‘brown’: chestnut, fawn and auburn, burnt umber and mahogany, russet and sienna…

And if you’re still hungry consider these tasteless ones: liver, taupe and tan, ecru and desert sand…

But speaking of words, my favorite old Bibles are also covered in brown, one a tawny supple brown, the other a thick dark buffalo hide all beaded in translucent glass pastels by my mother, who incidentally dislikes the color brown because once she wore a uniform of brown that she despised… (Fortunate for me, mine was navy and white!)

Mom - teenyears

In the world of fashion brown is not so popular as black. Dr.Seuss had it about right: “Mr. Brown is out of town…” but with cool weather coming I had a hankering for a light-weight brown sweater. When the mall failed me I turned to second-hand values and what should jump out at me from all the long row of hangered sweaters in the big city thrift store but this elegant soft brown one with pearl buttons… and soon thereafter a fitting skirt, brown of course ( : And one day there will be the perfect purse just right the size, just so the shape and soft and warm to hold, and brown…and then I will not mind the cost, maybe?

writing in brown

Hmm… Now musings, no matter how frivolous are quite incomplete without the question why? Why do I like brown? I ask myself. It’s how I’m wired, to treasure what’s warm and steady, soft and deep, lustrous without being showy. Serious without being formal. Inconspicuous. It’s the stuff of nostalgia and antiques besides, like sienna photographs—things that speak of tradition and unchanging roots… For all these reasons I love brown.

Great Aunt LucilleMrs WG Mahanes 1924

But ha! The joke’s on me, for I am turning gray. Perhaps brown cannot stay… but for today, I’ll cherish brown. (And go see if there are any cupcakes left!!)



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