“Beige is atmosphere. It’s bisque, it’s ivory, it’s cream, it’s stone. It’s toast, it’s cappuccino. It’s well, it’s magic.”
~ Albert Hadley
Years ago, when I was still living in Iowa, I attended a conference for Educators at the State Capital. The meetings were held in late November, after the chill of winter had settled over the Midwest, creating a landscape of gray. We had an excellent motivational speaker who addressed the general assembly on the first day. This gentleman was clearly from a state in the South where grass stayed green and flowers bloomed 365 days a year. As he looked over the hundreds of us in the audience in our gray suits and black dresses, he said, “Do y’all realize you’re dressed in colors that are the shades of dirt?”
I laughed out loud. Guilty as charged. In fact, as I thought about the contents of my wardrobe in that moment I could come up with nothing more colorful than navy blue. Looking around the room there were splashes of red and gold but the guy was right, from his angle, we probably looked like a field of newly tilled soil.
When we moved to Florida, I decided to leave behind much of my black attire. I can’t say that I’ve gone full-color, but the hues have lightened a little in my closet, which brings me to the present.
This summer I decided to ditch the dull, plastic pots that skirt our swimming pool and replace the Areca Palm that are stunted in their confines, so I set out to a store that sells large clay pots. I was greeted at the store by a bouquet of a woman. This lady smiled wide and spoke without a filter in colorful bursts of observation. I liked her instantly.
“What are you looking for?” she asked.
“I’m not exactly sure,” I replied. “I’m just tired of what I have and I want to add a little color. I guess I’ll know it when I see it.”
“Hmmm… Well, let’s walk back here and take a look,” said the Bouquet.
As we hustled through the flora toward the garden of pottery, she turned and looked at me. “Beige,” she said. “I think you’re a beige girl.”
I felt slapped. “No, oh no!” I sputtered. “I love color! Especially blue! Look, I have this turquoise wallet… ” and I dug wildly through my bag so I could prove to this woman that I did, indeed, appreciate color.
“Well,” she said, “I’m just looking at your outfit today, thinking that beige might be what you like.”
I looked down at myself. Gray shirt, white pants, tan sandals, brown bag. The turquoise wallet in my hand looked embarrassed. “Let’s check out the blue pots,” I croaked. So, we did. And they were beautiful and vibrant and showy and exciting! Then I gazed off to one corner and saw the perfect pots. The right height, shape… color. “What about those,” I asked.
“The beige ones?” She asked.
“I thought they were white. And look, if you get up close, you can see little flecks of blue.”
“Uh huh.” She didn’t have to say, “I told you so.” She was right. I am beige.
Beige is neutral. It’s not colorless, it’s chameleon. It compliments the colors around it. Beige hangs out quietly in the background, giving red the contrast it needs to shine. Beige is calm, not complicated. Beige is inclusive.
My house is beige. Every inch of paint, inside and out, came from a color card that highlights “accessible beige” as the primary hue. Four new chairs were delivered last week. Beige. I have two dogs. One is brown. One is multiple shades of brown. It’s OK. I’ve been married for 38 years to the same man and he is not beige. He is very colorful. Especially his language when he can’t get the kitchen faucet to stop dripping. Maybe that’s why I’m beige.
Beige is neutral. It’s not colorless, it’s chameleon. It compliments the colors around it. Beige hangs out quietly in the background, giving red the contrast it needs to shine. Beige is calm, not complicated. Beige is inclusive. It can go anywhere with anything. I can throw a teal pillow on my beige sofa and make it feel fresh. I can gesso a canvas in beige acrylic, and splash a masterpiece of color over the top. The seeds of crimson poppies and sapphire delphinium are beige. The cobalt sky is highlighted by the passing white clouds. The turquoise Gulf water is complimented by the color of sand. Beige is reflective. Beige is light.
I think yoga is beige, because for me, yoga practice is the foundation of movement and breathwork that we build upon throughout our daily lives. When our world starts to slip off balance; maybe when it gets a little too orange or we see nothing but purple, we come back to neutral. Our bodies find stillness in hues of white. Our breath draws in calming threads of ivory. Our minds are washed clean through alabaster visions.
I guess the beautiful bouquet of a woman at the pottery store was right. I am beige. And that’s OK with me.
Laurie Kasperbauer, RYT 200, enjoys the spiritual and physical benefits of yoga practice and instructs both group and private classes. Laurie is also an active Florida realtor specializing in properties in Naples and Marco Island. She can be reached at Harborview Realty, 291 S. Collier Blvd., Marco Island, or by calling 712-210-3853.