A snail is climbing up the window-sill
into your room, after a night of rain.
You call me in to see, and I explain
that it would be unkind to leave it there:
it might crawl to the floor; we must take care
that no one squashes it. You understand,
and carry it outside, with careful hand,
to eat a daffodil.
― Fleur Addock, “For a Five-Year-Old”
It is easy to get caught up in life’s intricacies. At times, our lives can feel overwhelming, and we can become so tangled up in our worries and dilemmas, that we forget to acknowledge and appreciate life’s more subtly beautiful moments. The authors in this chapter explore many topics; their attempt to find and focus on positivity, especially in situations that appear hopeless or mundane, is interfused within each piece. While colour isn’t emphasized as explicitly as in the previous chapter, colour is implicit in the concrete visuals that create beautiful moments.
Affleck’s short story, “Starting Life Without Her,” chronicles the events that follow the death of the protagonist’s wife. Although “Starting Life Without Her” could easily be classified as a story about grief and loss, Affleck chooses to end the story on an uplifting note, suggesting that even in the midst of tragedy, it is vital to search for the positive. By stressing the importance of family in the face of death, as well as the power that our memories hold, Affleck’s protagonist reminds the reader of this optimistic approach.
In Ferguson’s poem, “Infusion,” the speaker strives to reconcile her sexuality with her family’s expectations. The speaker is faced with two options: she must either conform to the norms of a traditional relationship or stay true to herself despite the possibility of rejection. The speaker’s refusal to forsake her identity, and her decision to put herself before the opinions of others, demonstrates the importance of choosing what makes you fulfilled and satisfied with your life.
Gillespie’s “Minute Memories” reflects on the fleeting nature of the present and reminds the reader just how quickly a moment can become a memory. The speaker can find the simplistic beauty within the seemingly prosaic, rendering an otherwise ordinary moment into something more meaningful and memorable.
MacDonald’s poem “Passenger,” achieves something similar. The speaker transforms an average car ride by noticing and appreciating the details that make the journey comforting and peaceful. The speaker’s reflectiveness on an everyday occurrence, one that would usually fade in memory, becomes consolidated through an acknowledgement of the simple and uncomplicated contentment that can be found even within our habitual routines.
The title of this chapter reflects each author’s endeavour to find colour – gratitude and optimism – within their day-to-day narratives. Their writing demonstrates that when our lives seem particularly dull or distressing, we can’t forget about the small but joyful everyday occurrences that appear to be unremarkable and are easily taken for granted. It is an appreciation for these “unassuming” moments that makes our lives more vibrant.