gentle & kind green

The challenge is to go out for a walk and take 10 pictures, then select one to inspire writing. The catch is you don’t write about the subject, you write about the background. Beth Kephart offers this challenge in Handling the Truth. I found it a disadvantage to know the catch while taking the pictures. I wondered if I would find anything surprising.

The photos sat for nearly a week in my camera roll. When I want to really see, I find it helpful for words (and pictures) to sit for a little while. I didn’t even count this photo as one of the 10, because I’m always taking pictures of this bridge. It shouldn’t be surprising that it is the one to offer me a new perspective.

 The sky winks through the tree tops and the sun lights the bridge.


A kind and gentle old man once told me, “God knew what he was doing when he made the world green. Can you imagine,” he said, “if it were any other color? We just wouldn’t enjoy it as much.” We stood in front of a window, just the two of us, and stared at the green outside.

Often I think about the way he enjoyed green: grass green and tree top green and wild flower stem green. He smiled as we stood, noticing the green outside. His smile told me that he knew things about God that I did not.

It was many moons ago, the conversation about green. I’ve had time to imagine what it might be like if God decided on a different color for the world. Daylily yellow or elephant grey or freshly plowed brown. None of them are as alive as summer Oak leaf green.

Did God choose green as the color of the world because he knew we’d enjoy it, as the gentle and kind old man claimed? The Oak leaf green changes to yellow and orange and brown. It falls, leaving bare limbs stretching to the sky. Bud green forms, over and over. Oak leaf green to yellow and orange and brown. Bare limbs. Bud green. I am not the same person I was when I first considered the reason God made the world green.

But, I still wonder about the reason God selected pine tree green and ocean green and corn stalk green.

I can think of no other reason than because God knew we would enjoy moss green and clover green and lemon tree green. If I believe that God created the world green just for our enjoyment, then I must also believe that God is kind.

I enjoy the green of the world while looking at a rainbow in our front yard. I say, “God sure knew what he was doing when he made the world green. Can you imagine,” I ask, “if it were any other color? We just wouldn’t enjoy it as much.”

I smile a kind and gentle smile, much like the one I remember from the kind and gentle old man. I know a secret about God that I did not know before I began enjoying a green world, and it has made all the difference.


I’m joining an open community of writers over at Sharing Our Stories: Magic in a Blog. If you write (or want to write) just for the magic of it, consider this your invitation to join us. #sosmagic

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  1. Ruth, I am incredibly thankful you chose to write this memory. As I sit on my back porch surrounded by the many shades of green, I am present with your memory.

  2. This was absolutely beautiful. I love the way you describe the colors, and the symmetry of the way you ended this piece. I love the kindness of God in these colors, just for our enjoyment, and I’ll be thinking of that in these very different days.

  3. I think the kind and gentle man is right. The first light green leaves on trees in spring spread hope and promise. The spring green of a birch leaves is my favourite green.

  4. All the shades of green are my favorite color. It is a color I have adored as a child and for many years. I’ve never wavered, now I know why. I love the idea of writing about the background and may try that with teachers next year (if I get to be with teachers). As you always do, you inspire.

  5. As always, I’m delighted by the lessons of life in your writing. When I looked at that photograph, I thought for sure I knew what “road” you would head down … road closed, an overgrown bridge, so many metaphors for life right there. Yet, it was the green perspective on life. One I have never really thought about … but now as I look out my back door and see the vibrant shades of green, I will smile and thank our loving God.

  6. Green is gorgeous and meant for everyone. How do we live without green during the winter? But then we see it again every spring. Calming and special. Thanks for reminding me of the green, Ruth.

    • I find avocados and peas and Brussels sprouts helpful during the winter months. Lol.

  7. I think you could also add wise to the list of descriptors for the kind and gentle old man.

  8. I have long embraced green in all its many colors! And lucky me, to live where green surrounds us year round. But I love the process that takes us from green to yellow to orange and brown. Yes, we have deciduous trees scattered among our evergreens. It’s all good!