Creation Time Day 26
Today's image in celebration of the creation is an example of the popular South African flower Strelitzia, known as the "bird of paradise" or "crane" flower. I've chosen it to represent the theme of colour in nature. The variety and vibrancy of colour found in the natural world is an astonishing and uplifting aspect of its presence to the human mind and spirit.
Whilst there are explanations for the evolution of colour and vision in plants and animal in terms of reproduction and survival, the emotional and spiritual response to colour in human experience may be received as a gift in creation inspiring in us a sense of joy and gratitude.
The colours of nature have influenced many spheres of human creativity from painting through architecture, design, gardening, fashion and cooking. Colours have acquired symbolic meanings in religious and cultural traditions linked to their common associations; blue for the divine; red for life, white for purity, green for the earth; black for death. Like many symbolic elements colours may have several, even opposed, meanings depending upon their context and use in relation to other symbols.
Colour therapy is a field of complementary therapy which goes beyond the belief that colour enhances human well-being and our appreciation of the gift of creation, but also claims that intentional exposure to coloured light may assist in the healing of a range of physical ailments and mental distress.
Brian Keenan is a journalist and writer who was held hostage by terrorists in the late 1980s and imprisoned in colourless confined spaces for over 4 years. One day a bowl of fruits was placed in his cell. It was the first time he had experienced vivid colour for many months. In his book about this time he describes how the colour of the orange almost burned his eyes with its intensity. "I am entranced by colour. I lift an orange into the flat, filthy palm of my hand and feel and smell and lick it. The colour orange, the colour, the colour, my God the colour orange.. I sit in quiet joy, so complete, beyond the meaning of joy....I want to bow before it, loving that blazing, roaring orange colour." An Evil Cradling (1992)
"Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these." (St Matthew 6: 28-29)
For greater understanding and appreciation of our knowledge of colour in nature, London's Natural History Museum is running a special exhibition: Colour and Vision; through the eyes of nature (until 6th November 2016).