How many shades of green? Gazing out on the springtime countryside, especially here in the vineyard-bespectacled Finger Lakes, trying to count the different shades of green is like counting stars in the night sky. No way.
There are actually two-hundred and ninety-five shades of green, although there is no canvass of nature on which we would see them all in one place. Absinthe, akira, algae, avocado, artichoke, aquarium, ancient, asparagus, baby, bamboo, bitter lemon, bitter lime, bitter melon, bleak, bright, blue, bright lime…these are all shades of green.
There is a bench on the bike trail, about a mile before the locks in Waterloo, where I like to stop, get off my bike, and just sit. It is not because I am tired, rather, through the trees and bushes lining that section of the trail, I can look out on a field with dozens of intense shades of green. On days like we have been having, when the sky is the summer shade of cyan, the greens shout with the succulence of life.
The lake is a bowl of changing colors too, from steel blue to battleship grey to tungsten to almost aqua in places and at times. But travel up the canal toward Waterloo and the water will change from blue to green to brown to milk depending upon the day and weather. Under the railroad bridge and highway it almost looks like one of those urban waterways they dye blue-green to obscure the pollution. It must be the algae.
But color leaps off the canvass as well. One day recently, riding my bike along the canal, I saw goldfinch, blue jays, a cardinal, and Redwing blackbirds – not to mention massive blue-grey Herons. The ever-present white gulls and brown geese are easy to overlook in the presence of so much other vibrancy.
What was it, do you suppose, about those Western and Northern Europeans some centuries ago, and their progeny that came to this land, that were unable to cherish the gift of color in human beings that is so easy to celebrate in other elements of nature? Whatever it was, they fitted us with lenses that turned shades of skin into different species at worst, and at best, different categories of human — all of which defies reason, experience and science. The whole artificial concept of race was made up by them, and is sustained today by the momentum of history with its devastating pain and suffering carried forward into present incarnations.
It must be asserted by people of all colors, but especially those whose primary heritage comes from Western and Northern Europe, that black lives matter. We must assert it, often and publicly and with our behavior, because there is a history, and evidence among us still, of the lives of those with shades of blackness and brownness in their skin being treated as less valuable.
Blue lives matter is an inappropriate response to black lives matter. There are no blue lives. They are uniforms that can be removed. Those who wear blue uniforms are not as endangered nor treated as violently as those with shades of black and brown in their skin. The discussion about respecting officers of the law is a good and proper discussion, but it has nothing to do with black and brown lives mattering.