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Colours: Yellow

By Ashleylister @ashleylister
So: (which is my favorite way of starting anything) I had lots of ideas when I signed up for a guest blogging spot on the theme of Yellow. I made copious notes, in my favorite way: a bullet point list.
And then I started feeling quite poorly, overall poorly, but also involving coughing. And once I was with it enough to properly notice this, I ordered a COVID test, online. It took some time, filling in all the pages of that form, while feeling poorly, before I got to choose how I wanted to get my test. And there it was, finally, the option: have it sent to my home. So I clicked. And then very early this morning I got a message to one of the many contact details I had to give in the first form: your test will be delivered between 10:32 am and 2:32 pm by Royal Mail. So, not knowing what to expect, I got showered, dressed (not necessarily everyday achievements for me) and even had a face mask handy next to the front door in case I had to sign something or be photographed. Being prepared for all eventualities – I call that being a good OT (occupational therapist), others may call it fussy, anxious, or negative. 
And then the slim purple parcel came through the letterbox, without needing a photo, or signature, or anything. And so I thought, I want to do the swab before I eat lunch – in case it makes me feel sick. And so I unpacked the slim parcel. And started panicking. Different bits, the swab I expected and the plastic tube that the swab would go back in, plus several bags, some with print on, a pad, a sticky label, and the 22-page booklet with instructions. I don’t know what it was, I’ve got two university degrees, but the contents of that parcel made me feel like a five-year-old in a grown up physics lecture (I am not really a physics genius to put it mildly), like I am definitely too stupid to have a test for a potentially deadly disease. At that moment, I really wished I had tried to drag myself through the walk-through test center in a Blackpool car park yesterday (why do you have to walk if it is in a car park?).
Colours: Yellow
Reading the booklet, it said to swab your tonsils for 10-15 seconds. I don’t have tonsils anymore. Mine were removed when I was five or six years old, and I have no idea where they were located before that. It also says to do this with the help of a mirror and a torch, and not to touch any of the structures before you get to the back of the throat with the swab, like the tongue, teeth, gums as this would spoil the test. It also mentions that the procedure could be uncomfortable. So, if like me you start to shake when nervous, like when you want to make sure you haven’t got a potentially deadly disease, and your maths is shaky at the best of times: how many arms do you need for swab and torch and potentially mirror, while not shaking and definitely not touching anything you shouldn’t, while counting to 10 to 15 in an orderly fashion, and presumably continue breathing throughout in order not to faint/move/touch etc. You get the picture? Oh, and all this is part of a particular order of actions, all leading to the sample being sent off for analysis correctly, and timely, and all that. First you find a priority post box by searching for it online (couldn’t I have done that yesterday when I ordered the test? I could have if they had told me about it), and find out when the last collection of the day takes place, and you make sure that you or someone from your household can get the finished sample parcel to that post box at least one hour before the last collection (why? Do they come to collect the post from such an important post box up to an hour early? Again, why?), so in my area, that’s at 4 in the afternoon. If you can’t get it there before 4, you can’t do the sample that day – but of course, you need to get the sample done and sent within 48 hours of: ordering it? Receiving it? Another thing I am not sure about. I am sure though that I can’t make it to the post box, and that my husband is working flat out until 4:30 today, so he can’t take it there – except the last collection isn’t until 5, in theory, but the instructions are clear, it has to be in the box at least one hour before last collection.
As well as all that, you have to go online to let them know that you are about to do the swab, but only if you’re sure that you are going to send it off that day. So today is not that day. Today is another day of trying not to panic about the potentially deadly disease, trying to get some good sleep in case I have the disease – sleep is so important for the immune system (!) – and of not being able to do the activity that has kept me sane in the head for almost a year now, the morning walk with the dog. Lately through rain and mud, and at times beautiful sunshine and ice and a tiny bit of snow, to see the trees and the birds and the top of Blackpool Tower, last lit up like the Electric Cowboy in red-orange lights, that was yesterday morning, but feels like longer ago already. Tomorrow will be another such day, and the day after that at least, until the hopefully negative result comes through on one of the many communication channels I have provided in that first form. By then, the dog will likely have stopped speaking to me, as the garden replaces the park, and he doesn’t like the garden when it rains like it has done all day today, and there is mud, and long grass. The rain and mud and long grass in the park are clearly of a different quality, a better quality. But tomorrow my husband will help me navigate the process and the instructions and the swab itself, and at least that part will be over and done.
And so: to say a few words (!) about the color Yellow. It’s not one of my favorite colours, in fact when I was younger, and more prone to make provocative sweeping generalising statements, especially in social situations involving other people, I would have said I hate Yellow. I don’t know if it is age, but overall, and certainly in writing, I manage to be a little more specific and nuanced these days.
Someone told me a long time ago that the combination of black and yellow were the colours of Wahnsinn (that’s German, and could be translated as madness, or insanity, or literally: delusion sense), upon looking at a picture I had painted which was abstract and black and yellow. Not being exactly a visual artist to start, that stopped me quite efficiently.
I don’t have any yellow clothes, or its cousin, orange, except for a very large fluffy scarf, which was kind of cheerful as well as warm and covering my neck very well on a cold winter’s day, for many years. I still remember which friend I got it from (just not whether she gave it willingly or if I ‘borrowed’ it).
Another experience of yellow was that I painted a picture once (before the black and yellow one), while music was playing that was scientifically developed by calculating distance and size of the planets of the solar system from our planet Earth, producing specific tone frequencies to represent each planet. This was done by musical genius Joachim-Ernst Behrendt, a German music professor, and the CD I was listening to while painting the picture, unbeknownst to me, was the sound of the Sun. The whole picture was just yellow with a bit of white and a little orange, no shapes, and I was kind of surprised at my choice of color (this was in the days of I hate Yellow), and intrigued when the person who had put on the CD told me what it was. I have bought all the ‘Ur-tรถne’ (Ur = German for original, but also kind of ancient, like Urwald means ancient forest, and is the word for jungle) CDs since, but have not had such spectacular results, probably because I have to put them on myself.
For several reasons, the color yellow, as well as being the traditional color for the sun in children’s paintings, also has a slightly official feeling for me. That may be because in Germany, my home country, everything relating to the Deutsche Bundespost, so post boxes, vehicles and probably buildings are yellow (It even has its own shade of post-yellow in color charts). Fluorescent yellow coats/gilets also mean ‘official’ and ‘authority’ to me, and I have to suppress the instinct to salute and then hide in case I have done something wrong, a real mix of cultural references to authority from the two countries in which I have spent so much time. I have also noticed that alarm lights are often yellow/orange. The only ones that make me happy are those on the gritting vehicles out in winter because of snow and ice, more on that subject another time.
Colours: Yellow
I should not forget to mention yellow as the color of spring for me. Just after white (snowdrops, daisies) and of course green (leaves and shoots on everything), the yellow flowers of Ranunculus ficaria, also known as Lesser Celandine or Pilewort carpet the woodland floors, and banks of streams, and stays for quite some time. And dandelion flowers (Taraxacum officinale), these early food sources for still-drowsy bumblebees, in such numbers wherever they haven’t been poisoned into extinction. Those are the flowers in the park and in my garden that tell me spring has arrived.
One variation of the color yellow – gold – has a positive feel for me. After not feeling very proudly German for many years, some of them spent here in England, I kind of like the Schwarz-Rot-Gold (Black-red-gold) color combination of the German national flag now. Gold has also served me well as a comforting as well as energising color in meditations and that kind of thing. And with that I give you, finally, the poem at the end of this long blog, it’s called Energy. As always, I would love to hear your thoughts about what you’ve read here. And, although I feel a certain tug to apologize for the length, and off-topic-ness of the first part, I will resist, in case it helps someone else navigate this one bit of these difficult times, I know it would have done that for me. 
Roots growing into the Earth
Through soles and toes and heel,
Drawing up golden warmth
Floating up the feet, knees, legs,
Saturating the belly,
Travelling up towards the heart;
Then: silver sparkling starlight streaming
Through crown,
And head and throat,
Meeting the gold waiting by the heart
Spiralling, starting slowly, together
Beginning to mingle
Until nebulae of gold with silver flecks are
Swirling through the chest
Growing vaster, whirling, spinning
In ever increasing circles
Until all of me, and then some,
Is swathed and rocked in light.
Colours: Yellow
Angela McG January 2021 
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