Posted by: littlehouseonthebigisland | June 30, 2014

The New Orange

In Hawaii there are infinite colors in nature.  The ocean produces more shades of blue here than one could have possibly imagined, if they had not seen it with their own eyes.  When it rains, greens from the yellowest to the bluest abound, making hues take on a three dimentional quality, as if color had a tangible form of its own.  Coffee cherries redefine the word ‘red’.  From tiny, hard green berries they grow to pale yellow, then by degrees, to orange, pink, Johnathan IMG_5164apple red, scarlet, crimson; swelling to ruddy, smouldering eggplant purple emitting an odor like ripe, dark olives, when they are at their peak.

So it is with the color orange.  When citrus and papaya ripen, the skins go from a dark, piney green to displaying subtle, near-invisible streaks of yellow.  In lemons this yellow takes on a milky quality, as if the fruit was formed from a bar of soap.  But as they ripen, especially at the top of a tree where they are hard to reach and exposure to the sun is the greatest, they actually turn the color of an egg yolk, and then, a bold brassy orange.  If the lemon is more round than oval, an unsuspecting consumer might get quite the surprise, biting into a slice.  Oranges go from greenish-yellow to yellowish orange.  But tangelos and tangerines take the color orange to a whole new level.  It is the reddest orange possible, without being red.  The color is deep and saturated.  No hint of yellow or brassiness remains.

Cactus Flower

Another plant, the tulip tree, produces flowers that are the reddest orange possible, rivaling, and even surpassing tangelos and tangerines.  The curved, lush blooms look like orchids from an ancient world, populated by dinosaurs.  And also, there are cacti. Orange cacti without a hint of green, that grow quite large and produce brilliant, scarlet flowers.  Their flesh forms in scalloped columns, with golden centers, pushing out to a deep rustic brown where ridges and the scallops form.  But between the gold and the brown is a pinkish orange, that practically glows.

And finally, there are the moon and the sun, which here, in Hawaii, can range from a brilliant green spark to mango, to cantaloup, to blood orange and countless shades and variations in between.  The green appears when the sun sets on the ocean on a perfectly clear day.  Just as the top of the sun disappears, there is a brilliant flash like a flawless emerald shot through with light. This past winter, the moon became a pastel, melon shade of orange, rustic and glowing, when there was an eclipse. The edges were dark, the center quite pale, with rich tones increasing and emanating out to its rim, where at last it was the blackest black, against the deep indigo blue, pure clear night.




  1. I am hypnotized with sensory joy. Color is the pathways that lift me most freely.The descriptions and the rhythmic details have been poured into me with your voice. I can hear you in this message. Good work. A writer could not do anything more to transform observation into shared experience. I am transported. Thank you again for the posts. I have been wanting to ask you if I can invite others to read your blog. My few scattered freinds and family ask about all of the story. Every day brings more awe and gratitude. Love to all.

  2. Just so lush these descriptions of colors. My mom’s told me about the green flash and the saturation of color, the luminous depth and I cannot wait.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: