Alive, abundant, established

In this week's dispatch, Lisa writes about the wonder of colors, whether bland or brilliant.

Over the weekend, the most recent JCrew catalog arrived, brimming with its mints and melons, fiery reds and highlighter pinks. Even cramped within our dark, little mailbox, it was practically glowing. I brought it home and curled up with it for a while, trying to let the cheery colors wash over my January mind before a certain sort of mental gymnastics kicked in.

It’s quite a stretch for me to imagine actually wearing any of these show-stopping colors. I’ve always been a neutrals girl at heart, although I’ve heard much about the psychology of colors and the deep symbolism of rich colors across cultures and throughout time. It’s part of why I feel a little guilty when I admit that my favorite color to surround myself with exists at some very precise point on the spectrum of gray.

Perhaps it has something to do with growing up in the Great Lakes region, where the ground is blanketed in white for much of the year, and the sky in gray. But perhaps it’s also my comfort with neutrals that lays the groundwork for a deep sense of wonder when nature pulls out all of its most brilliant stops.

I got the surprise of my life when I traveled to the Negev one winter. It was my first visit to a desert of any sort, and I fully expected a bland expanse of beige. We arrived at night in enveloping darkness, unable to see anything beyond the shallow spotlight of our headlights. In the morning, I awoke into the most colorful sunrise I’d ever seen, and a breathtaking landscape in every shade of pink seemed to unfold infinitely in every direction. It was one of those moments when you realize your own smallness and also find that bright pink is, in fact, a most wonderful color. — Lisa


Last week's dispatch asked, What three words describe your city?

Robin wrote about Elmwood, a neighborhood on the Berkeley/Oakland border:

I'll replace "city" with "neighborhood" and say: Low-hanging lemons.<br><br>Perhaps more broadly, and less grammatically: Alive / abundant / established

Matt wrote about Exeter:

small, perfectly formed

Krista wrote about Durham:

poor, vibrant, blossoming

Stephen wrote about Austin:

sundry, sanguine, irresolute

Katie wrote about Fort Worth:

Living in the Dallas-Fort Worth maze of cities and suburbs, it's easy for people to claim a city that is not necessarily part of their official address. So while my physical address is somewhere in the DFW area, my city is definitely Fort Worth, Texas.<br><br>Fort Worth is over-shadowed (by her prom queen sister, Dallas), stereotyped (as a tumbleweed, honky-tonk, pick-up truck cowtown), and unexpected (for fine dining, great music, terrific local businesses).<br><br>But the phrases that best describe Fort Worth are: "heart of Texas" and "one of a kind" (oops! that last one is 4 words).

Tu wrote about Ohrid:

I live in Ohrid, Republic of Macedonia. Soon I'll be in Berlin for a job placement. There are three things I can tell about Ohrid, without hesitation: old, worn out, and pure. The pure part actually comforts me so much that I plan on staying in some places like this when I get old. Despite the lazy people and the life as if modernity is so far away, this place is lovely.

Melissa wrote about Portland:

small, busy, friendly

Grant wrote about Chicago:

vibrant, fire, water

Mona wrote about Vancouver:

transient, delicious, evolving

Julie wrote about Washington D.C.:

dirty, concrete, government

Sasha wrote:

I find myself in the funny position of having two cities most of the time these days, so here's six (five?) words:<br><br>Los Angeles is multicultural, dirty, sprawling<br><br>Austin is creative, welcoming, sprawling

Dennis wrote about Valetta:

Cosy (having only 400k people on the island is nice sometimes), historic (if you haven't been here, then check out the movie World War Z with Brad Pitt; they filmed it here and it's pretty much how it looks, minus the zombies), and sunny (300+ days of sunshine, who can complain?).

Brad wrote about Austin:

adventurous, independent, quality

Drew wrote about Robbinsville:

I offer my usual response to our town's recent rebranding. The tagline is, "The Center of it All!" (punctuation and exclamation as advertised) and as a result they say we are, "Close to everything". My rejoinder: "Convenient to nothing."

Adam wrote about Austin:

wonderful, whimsical, windy

Karen wrote about Detroit:

hopeful, spirited, enduring

Danielle wrote about Austin:

nicely over grown

Jayne wrote about London:

like no other

Andrew wrote about Belfast:

I live just outside Belfast, in Northern Ireland and things have been quite difficult here recently due to a political decision which hasn't been well received by various members of the community. However, upon thinking and reflecting on how to describe my city, I've came up with these words: resilient, prosperous, forgiving.

Kevin wrote about his favorite city, London:

bag of crisps

Ryan wrote about his favorite city, New Orleans:

live oaks, iron, soul

News and such

The current focus for the new site is the compose page, where we'll tell the stories behind our favorite things. We're also developing icons for the main navigation and behind-the-scenes tools. The pieces are slowly coming together.

We reached 500 subscribers today, a fun little milestone. Thanks to each of you for being part of Uncommon and bringing a few friends along with you. If any of you will be in Austin during SXSW in March, let us know. Perhaps we'll have a gathering.

Your turn

What is your favorite song that features a color in the title?