Friday, October 29, 2010

United in Color

I love it when there is a game-changer in a community, when suddenly everyone you know is talking about something, is excited about something, is changing his or her behavior because of something. Right now, I’m thinking of the color Orange.

On a grand scale, several years ago, Christo erected his monumental “Gates” project in Central Park, linking and re-ordering the park in a way which compelled everyone who witnessed the Gates to see the park and the city differently. A green park became orange, walkways were created, gentle strolls became promenades, and people became a moving part of an artwork.

On a much smaller scale but stretched out across a much bigger landscape, pumpkins are everywhere in celebration of Halloween. I am thrilled as much to find the self-expression of a carved pumpkin sitting on the sidewalk in a most unlikely back alley as I am to see some of the more extravagant displays in wealthier neighborhoods. No one is too hip or too traditional, too urban or too rural, to partake in the ritual of pumpkin carving, and through it, we unite as a country, linked by orange.

Even fashion is getting into it. Just this week the Times reported on the sweep of red hair in celebrity circles. Maybe it’s been the national fascination with Joan on “Mad Men”. Maybe it’s a desire for the lighter times of Lucille Ball. There is no doubt that red – er orange – hair is an attention grabber, and doesn’t want more attention?

In my fair city, the biggest blaze of orange right now is in support of the San Francisco Giants. Their presence in the World Series has galvanized and united the city, fans and non-fans alike, men and women, straight and gay, black, white, Latino and Asian, Republicans and Democrats, young and old. Go Giants. Go Orange. Now, if only we as a country could be so united in purpose.

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