Give Your Space a Spring Facelift

Give Your Space a Spring Facelift

As the spring sun warms the air, it is past time to put away the heavy colors and textures of winter. It’s brighter outside, so it should be brighter inside too. Here are a few tips to bring spring beauty into whatever space you want.

Clean up!

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Spring cleaning is essential! While it’s important to disinfect and tidy things, another necessary part of spring cleaning is paring down. Get rid of those gifts you didn’t really want, or that sweater you haven’t worn since 2016, or those tchotchkes you don’t even see anymore but constantly have to dust. My rules of thumb are these: Either you love it, or you need it, or both, or it goes; and, if you haven’t worn/used/read/played with/listened to/watched it in six months, you never will, so out it goes. It’s freeing to get rid of things you don’t love, need, or use. This freedom mimics the freedom you gain in the spring to go outside and enjoy yourself.

Use lighter colors and textures.

I’ll admit it, I love the dark colors of winter, especially maroon and emerald. But when it’s bright and sunny outside, those colors tend to look too heavy and darken a room. Another thing that darkens a room is the textures you use. Velvet and cable knits are some of my favorites, but they are thick and heavy. Try lace, or cotton, or linen, or just lighter weaves, when it comes to pillows and blankets and other things.

Add plants.

Flowers and plants bring life and color to a space. Depending on your resources and allergies (or lack thereof), you may choose fresh or silk flowers. Adding some form of plants or flowers makes your indoor space mimic the outdoors, which brings the outdoors inside.

Open windows.

Finally, it’s lovely enough outside to open the windows, so if you are stuck inside, you can still enjoy the fresh air. Feel the warmth of the sun-filled air, the coolness of the breeze. Smell the flowers giving up their sweetness. Listen to the birds and the dogs and the wind in the trees. Opening your space to these things is another way to bring the outdoors inside. Even just opening the blinds can help, by letting in more sunlight.

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Synesthesia

Synesthesia

Synesthesia. A word a surprising amount of people have heard, but many do not understand.

According to the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, the word synesthesia comes from the Greek syn- and aesthesis, meaning “union” and “sensation,” respectively. Its figurative translation means “to perceive together.”

Synesthesia is, by definition, a sense impression made on one part of the body or on one sense that is produced by stimulus to a separate sense or body part. To simplify, synesthesia can be thought of as a “crossing over” of senses.

Synesthesia is not a disease, nor is it a hallucination. It is a genetic biological phenomenon, unlearned, more common in females than males. It is believed that one in every 2,000 people are synesthetes, the term used for those individuals with synesthesia. Famously, Vladimir Nabokov is reputed to have been a synesthete.

There is a widely-accepted theory that synesthesia is caused by a genetically driven overabundance of neurons in the brain. Synesthetes tend to be musical, artistic, and/or good at spelling and history. The musicianship and artistic abilities come from the lives of synesthetes being, for the most part, saturated with color. The enhanced spelling and history ability come from these colors, too. If the colors of the letters or numbers are amiss, the synesthete can more easily locate mistakes and fix them.

I myself have synesthesia. Mine manifests in the form of letters and numbers having colors, genders, and personalities, especially numbers under ten. I also “see” music. Music usually looks to me like colors, sometimes shapes, and occasionally scenes, like paintings.

The way synesthesia works for me is that I see that letters in a book are black. I know the ink is black; I see the ink is black. But in my mind’s eye, the place where one visualizes things, (for example, memories) the letters each have their own colors. This is one of the reasons I love reading so much, because the words become tiny paintings comprising a larger, more beautiful whole.

My favorite words because of my synesthesia and the colors of its provides are “beautiful,” “meadow,” “dinosaur,” and “bride.” My favorite pieces of music are Debussy’s “Clair de Lune,” which is deep blue and speckled with silver, with moments of the palest yellow. I also love “By a Sleepy Lagoon” by Eric Coates, which is peach and sky blue and green. The letter “A” is red, “I” is a pale ice blue with a tiny tint of lavender, and the letter “T” is forest green. They are that way because they’ve always been that way. I’ve never known a time when those letters didn’t have those colors.

Synesthesia varies from person to person. The colors of my alphabet, while they largely conform to those of most English-speaking synesthetes, vary slightly from that alphabet. My sister and my father have synesthesia as well, and their alphabets differ from mine, with some similarities. We get into joking fights about what color certain letters are.

I wouldn’t trade my synesthesia for anything. It literally makes my life more colorful. It makes music and reading more interesting and delightful. I’ve never lived without it, and I wouldn’t like to. If you’d like to know what color your name is, comment below, and I’ll let you know!

 

Works Cited:

Carpenter, Siri. (March 2001). Everyday fantasia: the world of synesthesia. American Psychological Association. Retrieved from: http://www.apa.org/monitor/mar01/synesthesia.aspx

Harrison, J.E., & Baron-Cohen, S. (Eds.) (1996). Synaesthesia: Classic and contemporary readings. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.