The Color of Loneliness
What is the color of loneliness? I really don’t know and I have to say the seeing of it is just coming to me right now. Still, I do know something of loneliness. Who could enter the seventh decade of a life without knowing something of loneliness?
I know what loneliness tastes like--a bitter sensation at the back of the throat that lingers after a rejection or a painful loss.. An end to a once loving relationship, a parting of the ways between friends, a growing apart, a turning away, or a leaving behind--these produce an acrid taste that only gets washed away by salty tears. This loneliness makes us wary for a while, but then we return to the banquet of living again--sometimes wiser; sometimes, not.
I know what loneliness smells like--a bowl of fruit, over ripe and cloying. This is the loneliness that comes from a loss of self, from acting in a way that is against one’s own integrity, from going against what one knows to be the right way. The fruit can only continue straight on into rot, but we can turn around. This is a useful sense of loneliness. It’s said that the sense of smell is most closely associated with memories, so remember who you are. There can be peace in solitude, but not in the loneliness of denial of the essence of self.
I know what loneliness sounds like--an eerie moaning that follows a keening. This is the loneliness of sudden or tragic loss, a loneliness that leaves one feeling bereft. This loneliness can be compounded by isolation. Others shy from the presence of such pain and grief. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross has said grief ends, eventually, with acceptance. And so, one hopes, the loneliness also abates.
I know what loneliness feels like. It’s touch is heavy and wet, dampening the very spirit. It is atmospheric pressure on the internal landscape. Left too long, it turns to depression and hopelessness, all the other senses dulled.
I still cannot name the color of loneliness. People sometimes say, “I’m feeling blue.” I will not say that loneliness is blue. I think it cannot be a primary color, red or yellow or blue, or any color on the color wheel, bright and clear. Tints of color are made by adding white pigment. White lightens and that is contrary to my feeling of loneliness. Shades are the result of the addition of black. As ominous as loneliness can be, black seems too depressing, too passive somehow. It has to be a tone, achieved only through the addition of grey. Is it as easy as that? The color of loneliness is grey?
Whatever the color of the sky in your world, grey will mute it, dull it. Grey mutes even white and black. The color of loneliness is grey mixed with the color you love the most. There, I’ve worked that out for myself.