When the Sun Goes Down Color Disappears

It’s a pleasure to discover beautiful little gems hidden in unexpected places.  I think gardeners are especially adept at this –we notice the rustle of wind through winter grass, the pattern of frost on a leaf, the first crocus pushing through the snow .  These tiny delights of the natural world are not lost on us.

If you pay attention, you can find such gems in books, too — even when they’re not intentional.  A few years ago, when I was taking my first landscape design class at GWU and trying to practice drawing, I came across an intriguing discussion of color in Betty Edwards’ classic Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.  Color is certainly a fundamental aspect of garden design, and of art in general, but I had never really thought about color in the way that Edwards’ presented it.  Word-Nerd that I am, I decided to turn the passage into a “Found Poem” — which I hereby present for your enjoyment, or possibly your amused pity.  A scan of the original text follows.

When the Sun Goes Down Color Disappears

And what is

Is it merely — as scientists tell us —

               a subjective experience

                                                               a mental sensation

that can occur only if there is     

                                                   an observer

                     an object                                         and

        sufficient light

in the narrow band of wavelengths called the

       v   i   s   i   b   l   e   s   p   e   c   t   r   u   m


Is the world really                  


only seeming to become full of color again when we turn

                                                      the lights on?

We cannot
know.                 What we do

            is that

when the sun goes down