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DOWN IN FRONT 

October Orange

By David W Roach 

  It’s October, the orange month. 

  We have to go a ways to see trees busting with vibrant colors. A drive out to Lost Maples is good, but only if we catch the change just right.  We’d have to fly to Vermont or New Hampshire to see awesome color.  That is clearly unfair because watching the leaves change color on television just isn’t the same. No, in Texas the leaves go from green to brown without much of a transition of colors in between. After that the leaves drop to the ground and then it’s winter.

  For most of my childhood pumpkins were orange. My mother would bring home a big orange pumpkin for us to carve into a Jack-o-Lantern for Halloween.  I walked into Wal-Mart the other day and saw a display of plastic Jack-o-Lanterns in red, yellow, purple and green, but no orange. Children stood around excitedly picking out a Jack-o-Lantern for Halloween. None of  the children seem to notice the absence of an orange option. Have I missed something?

  Orange is a wonderful color. Orange is the only color name that doesn’t rhyme with any other word in the English language.  Well, there is the word sporange—a botanical term for a part of a fern—but try working sporange into a poem.

   Artists make orange by mixing red and yellow together. If the artist mixes more yellow than red, the resulting color is called “Halloweenesque.” If the artist mixes more red than yellow the resulting color is called “Burnt Orange.” Hook’em.

  I’m partial to Burnt Orange having graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. Oddly, as much as I love all things Burnt Orange, I never bought a Burnt Orange hat or Burnt Orange sweat shirt and I don’t have a little stuffed Burnt Orange Bevo, although hats, sweats and Bevos can be purchased at Cracker Barrel. You can find them at the front of the store behind the Texas Aggie hats, sweats and stuff Reveille dolls.

  In religious iconography, the color orange is symbolic of endurance and strength. Orange is the color of fire and flame. Orange represents the red of passion tempered by the yellow of wisdom. That makes orange a great color to represent Jesus. Jesus endured the pain of the cross. Jesus possessed then inner strength to keep him calm in the face of anger. Jesus sent the fire of the Holy Spirit upon his disciples on the Day of Pentecost. Jesus taught his disciples with wisdom and passion. Jesus brings together the characteristics of the divine and the human traits. Jesus is definitely orange.

  We who follow Jesus Christ are also orange and not pure colors like red, yellow or blue. We are humans filled with Holy Spirit. We share Christ’s wisdom, strength, passion and calm with others who are also mixed colors; some green, purple and shades of orange.