We’re in the middle of the best time of year — the months of April and May. April usually starts with bare trees and ends with green ones. The greens get deeper and richer in May, and the month ends with the unofficial beginning of summer.
Green isn’t my favorite color, but in recent weeks it’s become more interesting to me. Part of that is the arrival of spring. We’re now at the point where we will have few if any frosts. We can forget about snow until fall. And we can enjoy the land coming back to life.
Fall colors are OK, but I like my trees green.
Maybe that’s because I grew up surrounded by small farms, larger farms, truck farms and home gardens. If you’re familiar with growing pole beans, cabbage, cucumbers, tomatoes or tobacco, you know green is the color of life and summer. And money.
The thing that got me really thinking about green, though, was a dive into digital photography. As I’ve learned more about how digital cameras work, it’s become obvious how important green is. During my down time during the coronavirus pandemic, I’ve been reading a little about color science. It’s been a rough and uneven learning curve, as I’ve had to rely on websites and YouTube videos in lieu of classes I can’t afford or can’t attend.
Almost every digital camera uses a sensor composed of bunches and bunches of filters. About half the filters are green. About a quarter are blue and a quarter are red. These three colors are blended to produce what you see on a screen. Why are half the filters green? It turns out that the human eye is most sensitive to green. When I thought about that, it made sense, as green is right there in the middle of the visible spectrum.
Which brings us back to spring. One evening this week, as the sun was edging toward the horizon, I walked into the woods near my home to shoot video and stills. At one point I sat on a felled tree and enjoyed the silence and the green. As birds around me chirped and sang, I noticed the difference in how sunlight bounced off some leaves while it backlit some, making them translucent.
After a long nap, this part of the world was awake again.
Sometime in June, we’ll have an afternoon rainstorm. By evening the rain will be gone, leaves will be darker and fog will rise from the wooded hillsides. It’s one of the best sights of the year.
Winter stresses me out. I’ve had to change frozen radiator water in minus-60 wind chill (Jan. 10, 1982) so I could get to work. Shoveling snow is not my thing. Neither is sliding downhill in a car on an icy road.
The new, fresh green of spring removes that stress. Don’t ask which shade of green is most pleasing — forest green (Huntington High School), kelly green (Marshall University) or hunter green (the Harvard on the Hocking). It doesn’t matter.
Spring is here, and so is green in all its shades and tints. That’s good.