A Colorful Self-Discovery Story

When, via Yeah, Another Blogger, I began launching stories into cyberspace back in April 2015, I didn’t realize that, over time, the writing process would increase my knowledge about who the hell I am. I’ve found this to be kind of neat, an unexpected bonus. After all, I’m an old f*ck who, since his teens, has been a champ at moving unsteadily through life. So, you better believe I happily embrace any aha moments that arrive. It’s good when the lights turn on.

For example, while penning an essay (Hippieish Notes From The Information Desk) a few years ago, it became clear to me that the values of the hippie era — those heady days of my youth when freedom, open-mindedness, peace, love and understanding were put into practice by millions upon millions of young folks around the world — shaped many of my basic outlooks. Somehow this truth had eluded me consciously and, were it not for writing, probably would still be lost in the extensive foggy regions of my mind.

Which brings us to colors, a subject I’ll now present as a second example of my increased self-awareness. I’ve written about colors numerous times, having devoted pieces to red, orange and the beauty of flowering trees, to cite several instances. While knocking out the first few of my color-centric opuses, I came to appreciate more fully than before that colors are really important to me. They get to me emotionally, some color schemes relaxing me, some exciting me, some causing me to stare in wonder as the words oh, wow slip from my lips.

But my relationships with colors go farther than that, for, while writing, it also dawned on me that I encourage colors to affect me, by seeking them out pretty damn often. I’d feel a bit less alive if I didn’t. “Pursuer of colors” is an occupational title that I’m proud to have on my resumé.

Well, one morning a couple of weeks ago, as my bony ass sank deeper and deeper into my living room sofa, I decided that rising to my feet might not be a bad idea. Nor would a pursuit of vibrant hues to brighten up the day. That’s why I promptly stood up, exited the house and drove a few miles to Glenside, Pennsylvania, a fine town whose commercial corridors are studded with every type of small business you can imagine. I arrived there at 9:00 AM, under soothing blue skies.

Now, in my neck of the woods, which includes Glenside, neutral colors rule: the tans, browns, greys and blacks that, in one combination or another, fill buildings, paved roads and sidewalks. And greens are dominant too, the deep greens of foliage, specifically. As much as I like those tones, they never have, and never will, send me over the moon exactly.

Of course, plenty of happier hues, the ones I was on a mission to locate, also exist in Glenside. After pounding the pavement for an hour, I found a dozen or more scenes bright enough to put a nice big smile on my face. Five of the scenes illustrate this story.

There was no denying the power of the Sunoco gas station, for certain. Its signage, an in-your-face rainbow of colors, all bursting with life, won me over from the second it came into view.

As did a subtler composition, one that centers around avocado green umbrellas. The umbrellas, belonging to a café at the Glenside railroad station, added a ton of juice to a setting that otherwise would have been described as drab, man, drab. I couldn’t take my eyes off of them.

All in all, though, I felt that there was one clear winner, a striking combination of Beauty (a dreamy mural) and the Beast (a mottled, pale-orange-tinged trestle, emboldened with wide black and gold stripes to lessen the chances that motorists will plow into it). When I saw the mural peeking out from behind the trestle, which supports overhead railroad tracks, I was taken by the incongruity of the overall display. An incongruity that totally works, however. The mural and the decorated trestle are partners. They feed off each other’s energy. The music they make together might be on the dissonant side, but despite that, it’s a composition that hits all the right notes.

125 thoughts on “A Colorful Self-Discovery Story

  1. Sheree August 23, 2022 / 1:25 am

    I think we’re all consciously or unconsciously affected by colour. I adore the blue of the sky and sea but it’s not a colour I ever use in my flat. Similarly, I hate blue bedrooms.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ruth August 23, 2022 / 3:18 am

    I too am a pursuer of colour, for me it makes up for the dull internal greyness that goes with depression… seeking out and keeping my external world vibrant with colour helps balance me out 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Paddy Tobin August 23, 2022 / 3:27 am

    Of greater significance, I think, than the colours you have photographed is the fact that you sought out the colour. We all need to seek out what makes our lives richer and more enjoyable but often we don’t make the effort to do so.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 23, 2022 / 11:47 am

      Afternoon, Paddy. Right, I know what you mean. Two days ago, for instance, I was too lazy to drive 25 miles to an excellent outdoors music festival that I’d been thinking of going to, even though music is my main interest.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. swabby429 August 23, 2022 / 6:38 am

    I also appreciate colorful, urban art. The variations shake our minds out of the planned, homogenized nature of the city.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Laurie Graves August 23, 2022 / 7:16 am

    I feel the same way about colors. That’s why I am often drawn to abstract art: the colors. (I also like representational art.) You provided some fine examples of color in a manmade landscape. The last photo is striking. Also the green umbrellas.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 23, 2022 / 11:52 am

      Hi. Right, bold, bright colors are exciting. Occasionally I walk around Philadelphia at night — there are many bright neon and LED signs in certain areas, and they look great.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Anonymous August 23, 2022 / 7:52 am

    Always like your photos…..the trestle was my favorite photo.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 23, 2022 / 11:53 am

      I’d seen that mural and trestle quite a few times before, but they really caught my attention this time.

      Like

  7. gabychops August 23, 2022 / 8:06 am

    Interesting post with the photos that are proof of your eye for color and composition.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  8. liliannemilgrom August 23, 2022 / 8:38 am

    Looks like you’re drawn to primary, strong color. I love the last on – the blend of graphic and painterly…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 23, 2022 / 11:56 am

      Hi. There are times I like more subdued colors — I love walking on ocean beaches, where the color scheme is partly dominated by the tan hues of the sands.

      Like

  9. greenpete58 August 23, 2022 / 9:28 am

    I like all the bright, colorized photos here, Neil, including the one advertising fossil fuel…although my inner hippie finds it a bit incongruous!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 23, 2022 / 12:01 pm

      It’s true. Many/most folks, including me, haven’t made the switch yet to electric vehicles. Even though the electricity they use is often generated via fossil fuels, I guess that overall they are less damaging than gas-powered engines.

      Liked by 1 person

      • greenpete58 August 23, 2022 / 3:52 pm

        Yes, I think batteries are far less damaging to our atmosphere. I drive a hybrid Prius (64 mpg over 3 years) and push an electric mower, and I wouldn’t go back to all-gas for anything.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. thelongview August 23, 2022 / 10:28 am

    My life has been a pretty conventional one, but my kids now tease me about being a hippie since I took to organic farming 😀
    Your compositions are a visual treat – so colourful and eye catching!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 23, 2022 / 12:49 pm

      Hi there. You know, the hippie era had major influences on society, influences that continue to this day: In fashion; the arts; environmental policies; political movements; forward-thinking in general.

      Like

      • thelongview August 23, 2022 / 8:10 pm

        Yes, I’m aware of this. I’m a peacenik too, and John Lemons ‘Imagine’ is one of my favourite songs.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Kim Smith August 23, 2022 / 10:46 am

    I’ll never look at my local Sunoco station in the same way! Very nice color-themed post, Neil…and coincidentally, I just wrote a color-themed post last night. 🙂 The psychology of how colors affect us is fascinating.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. eden baylee August 23, 2022 / 11:26 am

    Your life has become an even more colourful one through your writing, Neil!

    Liked by 2 people

      • eden baylee August 24, 2022 / 1:20 pm

        I tried to LIKE your comment but it’s not working. 😦 Seems to be a problem with some blogs of late, and mine also has an issue with commenters showing up as Anonymous.

        Like

        • eden baylee August 24, 2022 / 1:21 pm

          Sorry Neil, after I left my comment, I tried ‘liking’ your response again and it worked. Grrrrrrr!

          Liked by 1 person

  13. rivertoprambles August 23, 2022 / 11:53 am

    From the drab world of modern-day mobility & urban life (as symbolized by the intersection of the railroad & the highway bridge) comes the colorful display of art & writing to the rescue!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 23, 2022 / 12:55 pm

      Behind me, from where I took the photo of the mural and the trestle, is another mural. It’s a good one, too. Outdoor murals add some spice to urban and suburban environments.

      Like

  14. Helen Devries August 23, 2022 / 12:14 pm

    You’ve capured everything from the ‘in your face’ to subtle on this trip.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Debra August 23, 2022 / 1:02 pm

    We used to play a game in camp to see which group could come up with the most songs with a color in the title (Mellow Yellow, Tangled Up in Blue, etc,. etc.). Next to “love,” it seems colors are used the most often to describe our emotional state.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. JT Twissel August 23, 2022 / 1:15 pm

    What a lovely post. I honestly feel like if the hippie era hadn’t happened, the world would be in much worse shape.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Misti August 23, 2022 / 1:32 pm

    The color of the shades are enticing, something you’d want to sit under and sip something tasty for an hour while talking to a friend. The mural is lovely, too.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 23, 2022 / 3:15 pm

      Hello, Misti. You’ve given me the idea to go to that cafe with my wife one morning or afternoon, order beverages and food, and eat/drink them at one of the tables in the photo.

      Like

  18. Paula B August 23, 2022 / 1:48 pm

    Love your last line and your overall sense of the partnership between the mural and the trestle.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Rosaliene Bacchus August 23, 2022 / 1:58 pm

    I can appreciate your relationship with colors. I cannot imagine a world without their vibrancy that lifts my mood and buoys me up on those days when all seems bleak. In your selected photos, nothing comes close to Mother Nature’s burst of brightly colored flowers.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Ann Coleman August 23, 2022 / 3:04 pm

    I think colors can have a huge impact on our moods. That’s why I hate the current decorating trend of using various shades of grey to decorate our homes. Bright colors are cheering, certain paler shades are very soothing, etc. I can’t imagine living in a house where almost everything is grey!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 23, 2022 / 5:26 pm

      Hi, Ann. I guess that home decor colors, like clothes colors, go in and out of fashion. I wouldn’t want much grey in my house either. It seems a little too mechanical to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. sniderjerry August 23, 2022 / 3:59 pm

    Hi Neil, Listen a song by Don Gibson call Its been a Blue Blue Day. Its a downer of a message but with a beat that makes you want to dance. Great essay. All the best. Jerry.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 23, 2022 / 5:28 pm

      Hey, Jerry. I went over to YouTube and listened to that number. Don Gibson was a classic country guy.

      Like

  22. annieasksyou August 23, 2022 / 4:29 pm

    And you’re bringing your heightened insights to us–that’s also neat! I saw the Sunoco station through your eyes, which were far more perceptive than my own.

    I enjoyed the self-discovery part of this journey too. “We write to know what we’re thinking”…not sure who said that first, but I find it a truism.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. mariezhuikov August 23, 2022 / 8:58 pm

    Glad you found some colors to elicit awe! That’s so true that blogging can help a person learn more about themselves. I feel that same way.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 23, 2022 / 11:31 pm

      Hi Marie. Absolutely. Through writing, my likes and dislikes and my interests, for example, have become more apparent to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. shoreacres August 23, 2022 / 9:00 pm

    Surely you have Paul Simon’s “Kodachrome” on your favorites playlist. Every time I head out with my camera I listen to it; sometimes I listen to it to encourage myself to get out and about. Here’s a great video to complement it. I keep trying to make myself appreciate black and white photography, but honestly? Color always wins out. As Simon’s lyrics say, “everything looks worse in black and white.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 23, 2022 / 11:27 pm

      Hi. I love the album that Kodachrome is on — There Goes Rhymin’ Simon. I bought it soon after it came out in 1973. Such great songs, such as these: American Tune; St. Judy’s Comet; Was A Sunny Day.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. johnlmalone August 24, 2022 / 5:48 am

    a terrific ode to colours, Neil and some fine photos. I agree that railway mural is a real knockout; a world without colours would be drab and dispiriting indeed —

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 24, 2022 / 8:35 am

      I’m heading out in a little while to run some errands and to take a walk. It’s a sunny morning, and I’ll have my eyes open for colorful scenes.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. talebender August 24, 2022 / 2:51 pm

    I share your appreciation of the avocado umbrellas! Thanks for another good read.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. rkrontheroad August 24, 2022 / 3:09 pm

    I like your celebration of colors. That last photo with the arches made me want to step around and see the rest of the mural! I’m with you, influenced by the 60s peace/love movement. We could use more peace and love these days.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. Life...One Big Adventure August 24, 2022 / 7:41 pm

    I am always dazzled by the colours that Nature can generate. Their vibrancy is often gob-smacking. Wishing you a colourful day! Mel

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Suzanne August 24, 2022 / 9:21 pm

    Pleased the light is nice and bright for you. Thanks for making me smile regarding your first paragraph which I agreed with wholeheartedly. Mother Nature never ceases to amaze me with what she creates even when she has a hissy fit.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 24, 2022 / 11:14 pm

      Hey, Suzanne. You’re right. The varieties of life forms and non-life forms on Planet Earth are way beyond incredible.

      Liked by 1 person

  30. LTodd August 25, 2022 / 1:13 am

    Colorful objects are my favorite subjects to photograph. They call me over and say, “Take my photo please.”

    Liked by 2 people

  31. Ally Bean August 25, 2022 / 10:06 am

    Far out, man! This is wonderful. I, too, find that many hippy values influence me and thanks to blogging I realize that now. I like your “Pursuer of colors” title. I relate to that as well, incorporating the idea of color into my IG tagline.

    Liked by 3 people

  32. John Snell August 25, 2022 / 10:13 am

    Thanks for visiting my blog—stilllearningtosee—and kudos to you for this one. I’m glad to connect here. Do you know about synesthesia? Our daughter has a form of it such that all objects, words, alphabetical letters, numerals, months, etc. have an inherent color. She ends up seeing the in “her” color and then has to “translate” them to non-synesthete color. Of course she ended up a graphic designer who works in color all the time (www.colorpunchcreative.com). One of the great questions for photographers when we get back to seeing or processing the images we made with our cameras is ‘”What color was it?!?” There are, of course, ways to manage this but it IS, and has long been, an issue. Anyway, carry on and I look forward to reading more.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 25, 2022 / 12:58 pm

      Hello there. I looked up the definition of synesthesia. It’s an interesting phenomenon. I think that many people experience it, but not anywhere near the extent that your daughter does. Thanks very much for adding your input. I’m heading over to your site now to click the Follow button.

      Like

  33. Joni August 25, 2022 / 1:44 pm

    I was struck by your comment on the hippy values and “peaceful and kind” mindset, so I went back and read your essay, which made me think of the song by The Youngbloods – Get Together I think it was called. ” Come on, people now Smile on your brother Everybody get together Try to love one another right now” The world could use a lot more of that right now.

    Liked by 2 people

  34. ellie894 August 25, 2022 / 8:47 pm

    Your color adventure put a smile on my face too! Great scenes and I really like that mural and trestle combo. Enjoy those colors. ☺️

    Liked by 2 people

  35. Crystal Byers August 27, 2022 / 7:44 am

    To my fellow Pursuer of Colors, I think I’ll add that to my resume. Except I don’t write about color. I enjoy yours.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 27, 2022 / 12:40 pm

      Morning, Crystal. Two days ago I wandered through the Philadelphia Museum Of Art for an hour and a half. The art works were a color fest. It was a real good visit.

      Like

      • Crystal Byers August 27, 2022 / 12:57 pm

        Art always feeds my soul, and I’m overdue a trip to the museum. Hopefully, soon!

        Liked by 1 person

  36. Alyson August 27, 2022 / 1:44 pm

    You have a good eye for colourful scenes Neil and here you are sharing several more of your pictures with us. I’m making the most of the last few weeks of summer as bright sunlight really lifts these colours to a new level. Not looking forward to winter this year at all.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 27, 2022 / 10:38 pm

      Hi. You’re right about the summer sunlight. It definitely enhances colors. But I can do without the summer heat!

      Like

  37. viewfromoverthehill August 27, 2022 / 4:17 pm

    Now I can’t ‘like’ this post which I really LIKE. WordPress waits until I get comfortable and then reminds me I’m technologically-challenged again. Darn. Anyway, liked this post. We keep growing, don’t we? Muriel

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 27, 2022 / 10:43 pm

      Hi. Yeah, WordPress can be erratic and hard to understand sometimes. Anyway, I’m glad to hear from you. See ya!

      Like

  38. Lisa at Micro of the Macro August 27, 2022 / 6:18 pm

    I love the way you talk to yourself & end up doing cool stuff like seeking out brightly colored scenes! Didn’t realize you were an old hippie, but I guess I should have. 🌞

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 27, 2022 / 10:47 pm

      Hi. Yeah, I’m a lot older than I wish I were. The hippie era was an amazing time. Things really loosened up back then.

      Liked by 1 person

  39. D. Wallace Peach August 28, 2022 / 3:38 pm

    How fun to still be on a journey of self-discovery. That makes me smile. I’m a fan of color too, I must admit. Nature is full of it, and mankind’s desire to emulate it is everywhere. Great photos of your walk. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 28, 2022 / 5:59 pm

      Hi. Humans are not colorful creatures. That is, each person’s skin is monochromatic, each person’s hair is basically monochromatic, etc. Maybe that’s why we love to spice things up by dressing in a variety of colors, painting and decorating our homes in a variety of colors, etc.

      Liked by 1 person

      • D. Wallace Peach August 28, 2022 / 7:27 pm

        🙂 You’re right that we’re pretty boring when it comes to our colors. Earth tones. Lol

        Liked by 1 person

  40. ckennedy August 28, 2022 / 7:11 pm

    Love that mural! It is fun to sit down and reflect on the colors that make up a part of your memories and story. There are so many!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 28, 2022 / 10:24 pm

      In this piece I was looking for vibrant colors. Maybe I’ll do a story one day about a search for muted hues. Take care, Cecilia. Have a good week.

      Liked by 1 person

  41. Shelley@QuaintRevival.com August 29, 2022 / 7:16 am

    I enjoyed walking along with you and your words to find the vibrant colors you were seeking to find. I like the term avocado green, that is very fitting. The juxtaposition of the last photo is a great composition. It’s nice to reflect on who we’ve become over the years of blogging. Nice work!

    Liked by 1 person

  42. Jeff the Chef August 29, 2022 / 10:52 am

    It’s really cool that you have the wherewithal to reflect on stuff like this. Thanks for sharing. I particularly like the mural.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. ThingsHelenLoves August 29, 2022 / 12:35 pm

    Life should be lived in full colour! Everyone should have an arsenal of colours to call on when they need. Know the shades that work with and for you and use them abundantly.

    Liked by 1 person

  44. fauquetmichel September 1, 2022 / 1:16 pm

    Finally you are a lover of the basic colors : blue, yellow and red, making by mixing all of the others . You made he good choice .
    About the hippies time this came in France around 1968/1970 when I was already well inserted in the society after a long period of hard work So at this time I was not too more a fan of the movement .
    After those years the society had totally changed. and always is.
    In friendship
    Michel

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 1, 2022 / 4:23 pm

      Bonjour. I enjoyed the hippie era. There was a lot of freedom in the air back then.

      Like

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