Monday, November 2, 2015

Finding Purple

Colors change me. Mentally, emotionally, maybe spiritually. Especially blues, purples, greens, but really any color found and experienced fully. It's hard to explain, but it's unmistakable when felt.

After running the Seaside 10-Miler in Ocean City, Halloween Saturday morning turned into walking trails, dunes, and beach on Assateague. I had Alice Walker's words in my head seeing flashes of purple like soul breadcrumbs:

I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it.

It was everywhere, scattered like puzzle pieces, wanting to form one larger purple spectrum, like there was some larger purple shell that had been shattered and wanted to be put back together again.

So I gathered a few, to have some puzzle pieces to remember, study, ponder. And I left some for the next folks who come along to find.

What I kept (and keep) thinking about is the purple that connects them all, not the separate shells. And that got me mulling Oscar Wilde:

Mere color, unspoiled by meaning, and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways.

When I first read that thought from Wilde, my mind went to the sky or the sea, where there are expanses and variations of unspoiled color, without form. All-encompassing. But the shells were carrying it also--through broken, partial forms, it was something about the color itself, what connected them.

I'm going to make a little leap here, if you'll permit me. Let's secretly replace color with Love (capital L Love), and swap out the shells for people. There are times when maybe we all feel like we have some part of that purple within us. Whether for kids, parents, partners, pets, I hope there are moments when everyone has felt something like that. Our own part of the purple.

But what about the larger purple that runs through everyone. If we all have that purple within us, and from time to time, we recognize that purple, that love, the commonality, in someone else. Or in everyone else.

There are times when I have felt that purple in a gathered group, that I can't explain any other way. When Bobby Banks sang a hymn at my great uncle's funeral, I swear I felt connected to everyone else there around me. It was a profound, sublime, visceral experience. When I crossed the finish line of the JFK 50-Miler after 11-plus hours of forward motion, I was so overwhelmed and felt so humbly and greatly connected to everyone around me. And it can come in silly, unexpected ways, seeing a video of people doing something for others, an unexpected act of kindness; a glimmer in someone's eyes; a smile about to become a laugh.

I can't explain it, but it was there. I think in the best and deepest moments I've contemplated life, religion, the Universe, sometimes, when I'm lucky, a feeling that goes further than where my thoughts can reach is there. Transcendent and underlying.

I won't swear to it, but that connecting thread, that piece that ties us altogether, it's not impossible that it's Love. Or purple :)

1 comment:

Runners on Trails said...

Some nice thoughts there, Michael. Let's get the running group together soon and create one of those moments you referenced; a purple moment.