{18/01/2012}   How “The Color Purple” formed my view of religion

About 20 years ago I first read Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple” (it still pains me to omit the “u” in colour).  At that age I don’t recall having any real opinions about religion.  I was taken along to church (C of E) when I was even younger but my mum soon realised that was an education there was no point her pursuing.  I feel strangely conscious about writing strong opinions about God and church so I am being neutral.  I have never known a subject to inflame so many people and that’s not what this is about.

I was going to find the line that I am referring to but maybe it’s more important to write what I remember it being about.  Celie is with another girl (I haven’t read it for such a long time, the names and people have all faded in my memory) and they are playing in a field of purple flowers.  I always had and still have a vivid image of that field and it is so beautiful.  Celie is questioning how you can believe in God with all the bad things that happen.  Her friend tells her that to her every time she sees something beautiful, like a field of purple flowers on a sunny day, that to her is God, in the beauty and remarkable things all around.

I believe that even when things are shit, in fact beyond shit too, that if you look, really look, you will see something amazing and if you let it, it can bring at least a watery smile to your face.  In a nut shell, that is as far as my belief in God and religion goes.  And I’m happy with it.  Yesterday, I saw one of my favourite purple flower moments: seagulls running on the spot/doing their rain dance to lure worms up from the ground.  Every now and then I see the seagulls eat the fruit of their labour and there is a delightfully smug look on their faces.  I love seeing that.  I’m a bit into lists at the moment.  Here are some other purple flower, smiley moments, in no particular order:

Seeing the sun’s rays on an otherwise dull day.

A rainbow.

Seeing those leaves that are furry and soft, stroking one and being amazed all over again that a leaf can be so fat and furry.

Red poppies growing in abundance.

Seeing early daffodils and knowing it’s almost spring.

Lambs playing.

The sea – its colours, its unpredictability, how it changes all the time, the noise, the smell.

Frost, particularly around marsh areas.

Watching leaves or other lightweight things being blown about in the wind to make them look like they’re dancing.

Small dogs “walking” (because their legs move so fast they blur).

Feathers and those dandelion things floating – I always feel a need to watch them and as they fall so slowly, it slows me down.

Seeing a plump, juicy, dust-free blackberry growing, picking it, eating it and it being as delicious as it looked like it should be.

Snow – I would love to see snow falling for the first time, that must be the ultimate snowy magicality (word?!)

Sunrise, particularly over rural areas.

There are so many things we have the opportunity to see that have the power to make us feel, however temporarily, warm and fuzzy; they are like gifts.  I don’t ever want to stop noticing them.  What’s that expression about smelling the roses?  Yeah, that’s about right too.  So here endeth my warm fuzzy all-in-nature purple flower moment/religious beliefs explanation.


I am less reticent about expressing opinions on religion etc – I don’t see why these warm fuzzy moments need to be attributed to a higher power, why not marvel that evolution has caused flowers to be pretty, Seagulls to be slightly barmy and v amusing, blackberries to be sweet and juicy etc. Like the list though – now I know why you got distracted by that feather from your coat during Monday’s tax tribunal!

Btw the girl in green reminds me of you when we were in Tuscany (the hair), thought it was a pic of you to start with.

I wondered if anyone else would think that! She is the slimmer, younger me and I had to choose that theme because of that and the fact it is green! Even my hair is almost like that again. And she’s wearing sensible shoes. And I used to wear a top just like that, revealing bra strap! Bizarre!

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