Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News
Snow falls in on the flowers in Herriman, Monday, April 18, 2005.\r\n

It is springtime again. Well, almost. The chill winds still blow and sometimes I shiver with anxiety over undone winter projects that will soon take the backburner to more pressing outdoor needs. You see, the persistent weeds are popping up again and I saw daffodil tips in a flower bed yesterday. The circle of seasons is beginning again. And with each year, it seems I’m a new color of green in my soul.

This spring I’m discovering I am no longer “just green” in my feelings about life. The energy for life and the perspective of love is different, slower and deeper, perhaps. I don’t know if it is becoming a grandmother, or that my hair is lightening with significant amounts of white and silver or maybe because people are looking at me differently when I speak and share my heart.

Whatever the reason, I sense I’m moving from being “straight green” more towards the shades of emerald, sage and avocado. I’ll tell you why this matters and what I’m trying to understand!


More and more often, I’m being put in an enclosure. I will someday be put in a box, just like a jewel, and kept there precious indeed, but not much use for anything else. The box will eventually be a coffin, or maybe a smaller “assisted living” abode or maybe just the confines of physical limitations or mental incapacities. But even as those threats are very real in my upcoming seasons of life, so also is the opposing clarity of jewel-like vision that seems to recently accompany every introduction to a stranger.

How it is that you come to see through people instead of just at them? And when you are introduced you discern sorrows, past hurts and current conflicts written on their very countenances, with a transparency not perceived in earlier, greener days? And how is it that people become more precious with every encounter until you yearn to lift the sorrows you recognize in other’s lives?

I like this color of green. It has its limitations, to be sure, but the trade-off is worth the change in status. And who knows, maybe I’ll take eventually on the shades of jewels like chrysolite or chrysoprasus, other variations of green jewels yet to be discovered on this trail of life.


I also like the greenish smell of kitchen herbs —mostly good and sometimes scrumptiously so. My parents grew sage in their country garden. It is a perennial plant, a favorite of bees in the spring, and truly succulent when added to the cavity of a turkey on holidays and roasted slow while relatives and erstwhile friends reach out to know each other’s souls again.

I’m becoming somewhat sage-like, too. I have an opinion for almost every situation, advice for all who ask and sometimes for those who don’t. It seems I know more than before but am listened to less. Sometimes I am loved for such offerings, other times I’m looked upon as a naggy shrew to be avoided at all costs.

But then sage is only to be added sparingly to have its most delicate effect upon food. I must likewise learn to be astute about the amount of sagacious wisdom I proffer when it is not sought for. And even when it is, I must be prudent to encourage and not criticize, let others learn and grow for themselves and understand that much of what I know is to make me far-sighted, but not yet anyone else.

Truly, my elderly friend was correct when she said, “Marie, the day will come when your beauty moves from your face to your heart! And others will come to value you when they need you most, because of your soul instead of your faÇade.”


I’m also becoming quite like an avocado, squishy to the extreme, softer in all body parts and useful mostly to be yielding and huggable. This makes it more likely children will flow to me for kisses and attention, and that my clothes won’t look good too tight. But make no mistake, the time has also come when being squeezed is more precious than being admired.

Being somewhat like an avocado also signals that I have a pit of sorrow in the middle of my soul, something which comes to all who live long enough to have loved well and walked the life’s road far enough to know the effects of panic, sorrow, pain and struggle.

And so on to other shades

And so if I have added additional jade shades to my soul, I’m glad I’m no longer “just green.” I’m glad that occasionally others see me for these shades I have learned to wear somewhat well: the shades of emerald, sage and avocado.

With time I will become more silvered, more transparent and maybe eventually my soul will be like a forest in the early morn, when the lime tones are so light and the olive shades so tender as to make you cry. Maybe I will be something wonderful some day, worth really being treasured for the soft and precious shades of green I have become.

Marie Ricks is an author and motivational speaker sharing lessons from her life. By trade she is a professional organizer for, by love she is a wife and mother, by experience she is an observer of people, places and life's lessons.