I was very struck by something that Carol Klein said on a recent Gardener’s World programme. She was looking at acers – maple trees to you and me – and commenting on the gorgeous colours that they turn at this time of year. Stopping at a branch that was partly green, partly gold, and partly russet, she said something like, “Actually, the trees aren’t turning a different colour. The green is just fading away to show us the colours that were there all along.” (She then went on to give a potted scientific explanation that I can’t sum up for you.)
I love the idea that fall isn’t so much a season of decay as of revelation. When next spring comes, I’ll rejoice in the fresh green around me, but I’ll remember that there’s also yellow, orange and red underneath the green I can see.
Her remark also reminds me about how we think of people. We use the expression “to reveal one’s true colours” in a negative way: we thought someone was nice and then discovered that their real self was nasty. But in fact, a lot of times – most times? – it’s the other way around: we realise that someone is more generous or good than we’d thought at first.
Here’s to showing one’s true colours!