Spring color quest (3): Finally, an explosion of color

2 Jun

(Read the first and second installments.)

Excuse the cliché, but it’s precise in the case of the dream I’ll tell later in this post as I wrap up this three-part color quest.

Colombia (CIA World Factbook map)

Colombia (CIA World Factbook map)

A good place to hunt for color would be New York’s flower district, although I haven’t been there lately. But watching, on April 17 and 18, a travel brochure–type DVD about Colombia from the library, I learned that a significant portion of the flowers sold in New York come from that South American country. Several Colombian distributors displayed at the World Floral Expo trade show at Jacob Javits Center on the west side of Manhattan.

I learned from the DVD that the Colombian flower trade is old enough to have folkloric customs, among them the silleteros, “artisans who carry elaborate flower arrangements known as ‘silletas’ on their backs as they parade through the streets during Medellin’s annual Flower Fair held in August,” to quote Colombia Reports. Silleteros came to New York to “parade through the streets of Manhattan in New York…as part of the Latin American Folkloric Dance Festival” in 2009. Of course, I missed both the 2009 visit (maybe there’ve been more since?) and the trade show, but I’ve found more about silleteros on the site of Human Flower Project, a nice discovery in its own right (“an international newsgroup, photo album and discussion of humankind’s relationship with the floral world”). HFP explains:

Silleteros (photo from the Human Flower Project)

Silleteros (photo from the Human Flower Project)


Long before this region’s floriculture took the international stage, campesinos (small-scale farmers) from the mountains outside Medellin would bring flowers to town to sell. Since there were few roads in the highlands, and very few people who owned cars, most flower vendors carried their wares on their backs, wedging the blooms into big wooden frames called silletos, and lugging them to the city. The vendors, known as silleteros, unloaded and sold their flowers in certain spots across the city, notably la Placita de Flores in the barrio Buenos Aires.

On May 3, finally, I had a dream in which color was a central part of the narrative and was actually vivid. Even now, though, it wasn’t quite what I had in mind when I ask for a colorful dream:

“Color Totes Prison” (May 3, 2012)

Sunny. I’m flying, as though in a helicopter [no actual helicopter is apparent], above a prison building on a mountain plateau. There’s a peak ahead of us. The building (single story, brick) explodes in a series of two to three fireballs. It’s apocalyptic, and I comment to the pilot that it’s because of climate change. (Feeling)  Exhilaration from flying, mixed with shock, numbness, and doom from the end of the world.

We swoop down to the yard (no fences) on the right side of the building. A barred door at the middle bangs open, as though swinging in the wind (or possibly it’s standing open). I say, ~ “One hopes they let everyone out so they lived.” (Feeling)  Glad to see this. No matter that they were prisoners, they don’t deserve to die in there.

Then I do a double take. hanging along the top of the door are about 10 mesh market bags, each in a different bright color. I nod and smile to myself and maybe say something. (Feeling) Pleased at this sign of life and creativity.

Mesh market bags (photo from ImmaculateHeartAcademy.org)

Mesh market bags
(photo from ImmaculateHeartAcademy.org)

[End of dream]

I identified the helicopter in the first paragraph as day residue my dream mind chose from the previous night’s episode of the ABC sitcom Modern Family. In that episode, Jay (the family’s patriarch, played by Ed O’Neill)  is trying to take his wife (Gloria) and stepson (Manny) to Palm (Pebble?) Beach for a golf reunion, but Gloria refuses to fly in a small plane because of rock stars who have died in plane crashes. So they drive, but their SUV hits a pothole and the suspension is damaged. The garage owner has restored an army helicopter, and Gloria agrees to get on it after Jay admits he’s trying to show her off as a trophy wife—a purpose the sexy and lovable Gloria proudly embraces. And as I write this paragraph (on June 2), I realize a connection here: like the silleteros, the characters Gloria and Manny are from Colombia.

Unveiling the old army helicopter: "Planes, Trains, and Cars" episode of Modern Family (ABC photo)

Unveiling the old army helicopter::
“Planes, Trains, and Cars” episode of Modern Family (ABC photo)

I’d been wanting to write this post for weeks. And when I finally did draft most of it a couple of days ago (May 31), I experienced something that so often happens. The file containing the “Color Totes Prison” dream contains another dream the same day, and that other one resonated with the present moment of writing this post. It involves a woman I last communicated with months ago, until I emailed her about an hour before opening the dream file on May 31.

And as I finalize the post today (June 2), one more synchronicity: I used a Google Images search to find a picture of mesh bags in many colors. Surprisingly, there was only one in the first 26 pages of results (which Google Images displayed on one screen) that closely matched the dream: the one I used above.

When I saw the name of the website it was from—Immaculate Heart Academy—my first thought was “That’s weird.” Then I thought the bags must be a school fundraiser. I saw a cute little corn cob logo and the page title “IHA Leads the Way,” but I didn’t read the tagline. After getting the image labeled and inserted above, I went back to the IHA website to check the About page. How appropriate this turns out to be for my dream about climate change:

Corn Connections / Immaculate Heart Academy logo

Corn Connections

We are an environmental awareness group made up of eight high school students and two faculty members from Immaculate Heart Academy, an all girls Catholic high school. We are from different grades, but we have one common goal, Save Our Planet.

Corn Connections is an organization focused on the welfare of our planet. Plastic was not designed to biodegrade, therefore, using plastic for disposable items DOES NOT MAKE SENSE !   In addition to going green, we’re going yellow, because products developed from Corn will biodegrade and actually nourish the soil!  Thus giving corn a safe and effective role in protecting our Earth.

Although I first thought from the corn cob logo and colors that IHA was probably somewhere in the Midwest, it turns out to be right here in the NYC area: Bergen County, New Jersey.

Today’s connections bring this color quest to a more satisfying conclusion than it originally seemed to me. It also provides some further encouragement to follow a growing urge to move my career in directions of environmental concerns. (The night before the dream, I was working on an article about green issues in an industry in which I have clients.)

It has also helped with my annual (trivial but fun) dilemma of what to wear to the costume Dream Ball that ends the annual conference of the International Association for the Study of Dreams (to be held this year in Berkeley). Easy to pack, easy to put on: Post-it Notes accessorizing a plain piece of clothing and, thanks to the inspiration of another WordPress blogger, pastel chalk streaks in my hair per the instructions posted on I Love Green Inspiration:

Chalk-streaked hair (from I Love Green Inspiration)

Chalk-streaked hair (from I Love Green Inspiration)

3 Responses to “Spring color quest (3): Finally, an explosion of color”


  1. Color quest, fall edition « - September 23, 2012

    […] ended the third of my three spring color quest posts by saying I would use pastel chalks to color my hair as part of my costume (which I based on my […]

  2. Spring color quest (2): Pluralistic color « - June 2, 2012

    […] Categories Actual Dream, Arts, Environment, Holidays, Latin American, Seasons, Spaces, Visual Arts ← Spring color quest (1): March flowers brought May showers Spring color quest (3): Finally, an explosion of color → […]

  3. Spring color quest (1): March flowers brought May showers « - June 2, 2012

    […] Spring color quest (3): Finally, an explosion of color « – June 2, 2012 […] the first and second […] […]

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