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Greenery: Colour of the Year, 2017

Sitting here with my binoculars, watching a young sparrow hawk rest in the garden. He’s perched on a fence right next to the bird feeder, and for some strange reason, there are no sparrows pecking grain nearby. He’s magnificent, with a huge downy chest of brown stripy feathers and a very small head which can turn nearly 180 degrees around and sideways. It’s minus one out there; I hope all those feathers keep him warm.

Great news: a student has had a Christmas piece I edited for her accepted by the Globe’s Facts and Arguments. It’s the perfect place to start as an essay writer – national, daily, with a nice picture. Good for you, Rita.

But – I had my teacher assessments back recently from the U of T, and was perturbed, as was my boss; usually the comments are overwhelmingly positive, but last class, some of them had complaints. Not enough feedback, they said, more critiquing. One wanted me to give a written assessment to each student of his or her progress in our eight weeks together, a little project that would take hours. Needless to say, there was some dwelling from this teacher at 3 a.m. last night, and an interesting discussion with my boss. Perhaps I have become a bit too lax with class structure. But perhaps students are expecting a bit too much. So after some fretting, I’m putting it all away.

I’m also fretting about the memoir, which is going nowhere fast right now. Any excuse not to do the work, and there are lots of excuses in the weeks before Xmas. So – in a bit of a slump in the deep freeze, not to mention more depressed every time I look at a newspaper and see the orange-faced demon. At the same time, I’m grateful for every blessing, and there are lots of those too.

Here, sent by friend and former student Jason, who first told me about the important colour pundit Leatrice Eiseman – is that not a great name? – is what we all need to know for next year. Sorry, the ends of the sentence are cut off, but I hope you get the gist. And now, off to have my hair cut. THAT will certainly perk me up.

When the question of what will define 2017 comes up, the response most often includes words like “Trump” and “populism” and “division” and “anger.” “Green” — not so much.
Yet if you believe the team at the Pantone Color Institute, which calls itself the “global color authority,” green will be everywhere in 2017. Not just any old green, of course: Pantone 15-0343, colloquially known as greenery, which is to say a “yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring.”


“Greenery,” which is Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2017. (It’s also known as Pantone 15-0343.)

That is, the Color of the Year for 2017.
Because, though you may not realize it, it turns out that green has everything to do with all of those other things. Not literally. (Despite the fact that President-elect Donald J. Trump clearly loves green, at least when it comes to dollars, he rarely wears it, and it doesn’t figure much in his decorating sense or what we know of his diet.) But emotionally and imaginatively.
“We know what kind of world we are living in: one that is very stressful and very tense,“ said Leatrice Eiseman, the executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. “This is the color of hopefulness, and of our connection to nature. It speaks to what we call the ‘re’ words: regenerate, refresh, revitalize, renew. Every spring we enter a new cycle and new shoots come from the ground. It is something life affirming to look forward to.”
In other words, if 2016 was your annus horribilis, as 1992 was for Queen Elizabeth II, whether because of elections or market forces or because you were suckered by fake news on Facebook, this suggests the possibility of something different in 2017. It contains within it the promise that we can all start afresh, with a healthier attitude unfurling like a pea shoot and our feet firmly planted on the earth, as opposed to that isolated, alienating place known as cyberspace.



2 Responses to “Greenery: Colour of the Year, 2017”

  1. George H says:

    I feel your pain, Beth. I have participated in a couple of MOOCs. They have been set up so that each student is given assignments from five other students for comment and reply. They receive five assessments from others. Maybe you could devise some sort of feedback mechanism like that where you wouldn't have to do all the critiquing and the students would learn to read each others work critically.
    Cheers, George H

  2. beth says:

    George, that's interesting. (I just Googled MOOC.) The issue here is that first, I don't want them to hurt each other with unfair criticism – beginning writers are sensitive. And also, I'm the one who needs to teach details of craft and technique. By the end of each term, they do critique each other as well as say what works about each piece. But I think I was perhaps getting a bit too relaxed about class structure, maybe need to keep things moving a bit more. Always food for thought. Thanks for your suggestion – if I ever do a MOOC, I'll take it up.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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