The graphic season

“I collect colours for the winter,” says Frederick, when the other mice ask him why he only sits lazily in the sun not storing supplies for the winter, “because winter is gray.” He collects rays of sunshine because winter is dark, and words because winter is speechless. When it started to snow, the mice were living it up, but the winter was long and they ran out of supplies. They were starving, freezing and finally went to Frederick. He told them about the rays of sunshine and it became light. He told them about the many colours and the mice became happy. He started to recite poetry and the mice became warm.

This is a charming story in which the Italian author Leo Lionni reminds children and adults that there is more to life than what we need merely to survive. Especially on sad winter days, it is nice to enjoy rays of sunlight and the colourful beauty of summer – one of the reasons we surround ourselves at this time with uplifting, brightly coloured decorations, with fragrant cookies and exciting music. Natural winter colours are different – black and white, occasionally somewhat brown or dark green – and far too often we have the feeling that everything is gray on gray. On a stroll through a snow-covered forest, one can experience winter as the most graphic season of all. The clear shapes are fascinating, few cold colours as dominating as the icy blue of water, the turquoise of icicles, the cold white of snow, dark green of fir trees.

It is precisely in the midst of dreary winter weather that we can add positive accents with colours. We need them like rays of sunshine, like words, a smile, wonderful memories, a picture, a song, a poem.