When I Am “Outside” I Shall Wear Red and Blue

By , June 16, 2010

On Monday, working toward my resolution to read a poem a day this year, I read Jenny Joseph’s delightful poem, Warning – When I Am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple. I’ve known of it for a while, notorious as it is for inspiring The Red Hat Society, but I’d never actually read it completely through. My reason for reading that particular poem Monday had to do with packing for my trip “outside” to attend my friend’s wedding. As I packed, I realized I could choose blue and red shirts to wear while down south—”outside.”

Blue is one of my favorite colors. Most of my summer shirts, particularly the Hawaiian ones, have blue as a prominent color. Unfortunately, horse flies and deer flies like the color for some reason, and will flock to it. We commonly soak a blue towel and set it apart from the activity, on the prow of the sailboat or a few rocks over when fishing, to draw flies away from people. We avoid wearing blue around the homestead if the weather’s sunny and warm. Most of my blue shirts are now packed away in the shed.

Red is less problematic, but we wear it cautiously because of all the hummingbirds. They are, of course, attracted to red more than most colors. They aren’t annoying, but they’re startling if they suddenly swoop up from behind us to investigate, particularly when we reflexively swat at anything that buzzes. Occasionally, I have deliberately chosen to wear red while cutting wood in the forest. I’ve had hummingbirds hover around me, picking off the mosquitoes that gather. Mostly, though, I leave my red shirts in the drawer as well.

Free of these neighborly constraints, I’ll be able to wear my favorite reds and blues to my heart’s content while I’m away from the homestead.

As for The Red Hat Society, I always make sure to salute its members when I have the chance. They have earned the right to flamboyant headgear, and I love their attitude toward life. We should all cultivate it ourselves, no matter what our age!

2 Responses to “When I Am “Outside” I Shall Wear Red and Blue”

  1. Nancy Durbin says:

    I had on a big red coat one day. The caribou was too interested in me I took off the red coat.


  2. Mark Zeiger says:

    Nancy, I would imagine a “swarm” of caribou would be far more disconcerting than a swarm of flies or hummingbirds!

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