by Frank Reilly
Be gone, fire of youth.
A pox on your house.
Youth and its certitude. Youth and its “I know best.”
I champion my age.
Cut me down and count my rings.
I celebrate their number.
Rings around roses. Class bell rings. Rings on fingers.
Toilet rings. Rings straight through to voicemail.
And now, finally, gray.
I love gray.
There is beauty, without doubt, in the crystal clarity of black and white.
The purity of black and white imply youth,
but they will move toward gray over time, no matter the medium.
Leave a sheet of paper on a table and it will gather gray in dust and soot.
Paint a tin snip, a metal pole in the deepest black and leave it to corrode in the sun. It, too, will gray.
The names of all colors work as adjectives. Some as nouns.
But gray is also a verb. An active verb: You gray.
Yes, you, you sheet of paper, you snip of tin.
And not just on the outside.
If you keep an open mind, the more you learn, the more you move toward gray.
Yes, there is this black. But there is also this white. And when you think things through, when all is weighed, the scales typically balance and gray is between the two.
The happy medium. The healthy compromise.
The considered middle.
Would I trade my gray for a bright, spring blue?
Of course! I’m no idiot.
Gray will come, after all, that warm, winter coat.