Mason K Brown on the colors of the moving American landscape.
Ochre, orchid, and olive – more colors than a 64-pack of Crayolas. Freight trains, once the lifeblood of American commerce, course the veins of our nation. Their brilliance stands out against summer’s drying crops. Ribbons of color trace the landscape lacing through tunnels across America. The colors of the boxcars blur together as I traverse the collage of states we call the USA at 75 miles per hour.
Gray – the color of quandary. Why am I surprised to see them here in America’s mid-section? My customary air travel takes me above them. I have forgotten. I am driving across the continent to watch the Yankees play ball. These roving galleries of color are not listed in my AAA TourBook. They’re unexpected; still, still I am glad they amaze my spirit.
Black, brick and brown – the various hues painted upon the rust-colored canvases only as high as the arm can reach. Like paint swatches in The Home Depot. Vandalism, I suppose, but somehow, lovely, alluring, belonging here.
Tan, teal, and tangerine – designed on rectangle shapes that remind me of bolts of fabric in the yardage store. They tease the thought.
Peach, plum, and periwinkle – artwork reminiscent of the kaleidoscope from my childhood – I welcome their intrusion on the landscape.
Mint, maize, and mahogany – like the patches of a giant quilt. Today it rides through Oregon, tomorrow Montana, next week Kansas, then Kentucky. Only restricted by the rails it sits on. More offerings than the eye can capture – always changing, always moving, always captivating.
Salmon, shamrock, and silver – boxcars more colorful than a Norman Rockwell, more chaotic than an Edvard Munch, but art just the same; art that is an image from today’s culture. Speaking in the voice of the unemployed, the underemployed, the lonely, the bored and the desolate, of unrecognized talent and potential, of dormant energy and untapped imagination. Picturing both hope and despair.
Canary, carnation, and copper – let it ride the rails. Displaying great promise across the land. Color America with expectation and optimism!
Mason K. Brown is an author of inspirational non-fiction and humor. She lives in the Pacific Northwest, but travels the world collecting water and fodder for her stories.