Clove Christmas

This morning I took one of the mandarin oranges Kish buys for the holidays and attacked it with a full arsenal of whole cloves.  You push the pointy ends of the cloves through the soft skin of the fruit, covering the entire outer surface.  The cloves and the citrus juices from the skewered orange then interact, producing a fine, delicate, spicy scent that leaves the kitchen smelling wonderful.

The clove orange is one of the things — liking baking cookies, listening to holiday music, or “surprising” Kish with the inevitable gift of a new word-a-day calendar — that says Christmas to me.  Thanks to Aunt Corinne, who first acquainted me with this holiday tradition.

Colorblind

Yesterday, as part of a physical exam, I was given a test to determine whether I had any issues in detecting different hues on the color spectrum — i.e., whether I was colorblind.  It’s odd, but even though I’m 58 years old, am badly nearsighted, and have worn glasses since kindergarten, I don’t think I’ve ever taken a test for colorblindness.

The test involved looking through one of those devices you use at the optometrist’s office, where you peer into a kind of binocular unit, pictures are projected on the other end, and you identify letters or describe pictures.  In this case, the pictures were of four circles filled with dots of different colors.  The color patterns established by the different dots were each supposed to form distinguishable numbers.

IMG_3030I saw the number 11 in the first circle, but the other three just looked like totally random aggregations of differently colored dots to me.  Try as I might, I couldn’t see any patterns or numbers — even to guess at — in the other three circles.  Even when the nurse administering the test helpfully told me that there was a 26 in the second circle, I couldn’t see it.  After the test was over, the nurse advised that my eyes were not correctly processing oranges and greens.

When I told Kish about these results, she nodded knowingly.  She’s often commented on my inability to recognize the true colors of the outfits she’s wearing — and not just in discerning the subtle differences between similar colors like periwinkle and lavender, either.  Sometimes I’ll call a color gray and she’ll say it’s brown, or vice versa.  The test just confirms what she’s always suspected is the case.

It’s weird to have belated evidence that I am partially colorblind.  It’s not going to affect my work — I’ll always be able to see black and white words on a page or computer screen — but it makes me wonder.  When I look at a pumpkin, like the pumpkins in this photo I took last year, I see what I’ve always understood to be orange.  If it’s not orange, what color am I seeing, really, and what does orange actually look like?  And when I look at trees or grass and see what I perceive to be lush greens, am I just seeing pale echoes of the true verdant colors?  I find myself wondering now:  what have I been missing?

Rosy Future

IMG_5590The flowers in our front beds are starting to show themselves.  They include a small rosebush which has now produced striking orange flowers.  I’ve not seen roses this particular shade before — so orange that I almost wish it were Halloween.

I’ve never tried to grow roses; I’ve always heard that they are a challenge.  Given the beauty of these blooms, however, I might have to reconsider that decision.