Saturday, January 19, 2008

Gray Anatomy

The color gray, as applied to local weather conditions hereabouts, has changed noticeably over the past 40 years. Today's gray, for instance, is reminiscent of The Old Way. Its mystic brooding resonates with concepts like 'dank' or perhaps 'melancholy', even 'dolorous'. It's the perfect sort of ambiance to please a frog, a poet, or possibly even a leprechaun.

Yesterday, however, featured the sort of gray that first began to appear while I was in my second year at University, back in the late '60's. At the time, I thought that I must be suffering from that mildly depressed, dullish malaise known as Sophomore Slump. The color had gone out of life. Some days, I could have sworn that everything seemed the hue of dry concrete.

Only years later, looking back from a stance of satisfied motherhood moored to Common Sense, did I realize that I hadn't been very 'slumped' at all, back then. Everything WAS the hue of dry concrete.

The cause? No, it wasn't that icky Fisheries class with the appallingly stupid professor, that I ended up taking Pass/Fail because I couldn't stand attending; nor was it the new dorm with its towering twin towers--one for males, the other for females. It was the freeway. Interstates 5, 90, 405 and a maze of smaller brethren had been under construction for the previous few years, and were just coming into their own, right when I hit sophomore year.

It's a boggler, realizing that your kids have already grown up in a climate alien to the one that you knew as a child, even though you're all living in the same old place. It's also boggling to hear people refer to global warming as a scam. One wonders if most of them mightn't be under-40ers who've never known anything BUT dry-concrete-gray, and think that Sophomore Slump is just the normal state of affairs. Either that, or they've inhaled so much pollution since birth that they've become living evidence for the latest (February 2008) 'Finding' in Harper's: That human evolution is accelerating.

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