It is cloudy outside. The sky is a cool, damp gray. No rain. No snow. Just dreary and gray. The world is gray today.
We have now been in a lockdown and wearing masks for an entire year. I have lost a lot of ground. Color-blindness runs in my family on my mother’s side. Great Grandma Hinckley was completely color-blind by the time she was in her 70’s.
I myself have known I had the color-blindness problem since I was in high school and the school nurse gave me a vision test that proved it.
In the dotted circle, I could see the blue-green number 29, but I could also see the red number 5. I was told that I had a slight color-blindness on the red/green scale. Believe me, I had no idea what that meant. Still don’t. I just know I have never seen colors the way other people with normal vision do.
But now, after twelve months of lockdown, I can definitely detect the fact that I have lost some more of my color vision.
Great Grandma saw the world in black and white and gray since she was 70. That, for me, is now less than six years away.
As a cartoonist I use a lot of pen and ink. I also love black-and-white movies. Being partially colorblind, you might think that I would be okay living in a film-noire world. But I am not. It is simply not enough. I have always craved color. I particularly love to create with bright primaries, red, yellow, and blue.
I will sorely miss color when it is gone.
And I have always loved cardinals. Not only because they are bright red songbirds, like the one singing outside in our yard on this gray and slightly blustery day. But because they never fly away when the winter comes. They stay even in the snow and cold. Trouble doesn’t drive them away. I shall not give up when I lose all the colors.
I remember the world being gray when I was a boy back in the 1960’s too. TV was only black-and-white… and gray at our house. I watched the funeral parade for JFK on the black-and-white… and gray TV. And around that time the three astronauts Grissom, Chaffee, and White had a similar funeral parade… also black-and-white-and-mostly-gray.
The Viet Nam conflict on the TV news with Walter Cronkite. The riots at the Democratic Convention in 1968 with the Chicago Seven going on trial. The world was very, very gray.
But then, in the Summer of ’69, Neil Armstrong landed on the moon. A giant leap for mankind! And I saw that also in black-and-white-and-mostly-gray.
There was a hope of color in my life after that. And we got a color TV in the later 70s after that. And even with my partially color-blind eyes, I saw color everywhere.
And now again is a good time to anticipate color coming back into my life. I am on the waiting list for vaccination. My eldest son has a steady girlfriend living with him now. And we have a better President who actually seems to care if we live or die. Good things are over the next hill.
But still… the world is, for now… gray today.