In the beginning there were no colours, there was only light and dark, because God hadn’t thought about colours yet. Later, God thought about life, and soon after thought about death, as a way to get old life to get out of the way of new life. And life went on and evolved into consciousness, and God was sad, because it was too late to undo death, and so conscious people had to die, and still there were no colours.
So God made a book where the names of all conscious people were written, and every year the conscious people fasted to take notice of their lives and to take notice of the fact that they were going to die, and every year God took notice of each of them and marked down the ones who were going to die that year. Then, one day, as one of the people took notice and fasted and God thought about them and wrote their name, God loved that person so much (because they were so very very wonderful) that God thought up the first colour, to write down their name. (It was red. If I’d been God, it would have been blue, but in fact everyone agrees it was red.) After that red spread out through the world, getting on sunsets and strawberries and autumn leaves.
As time went on, there were more especially marvellous people for whom God made colours and let the colours out to run through the world, blue getting into the sky and yellow getting into the sun and on and on. Some say there were three, and others say seven people, and others say two hundred and fifty six, but we pity those poor misguided schismatics and say there were an infinite number of people and an infinite number of subtle colours, and God isn’t done with this project yet.
So on the first day of the year look carefully, look widely, look at the world with care so that you’ll notice if there’s a new colour. You won’t know if it’s your colour. (Nobody knows that, and we will have nothing to do with the heresies that try to connect specific people with specific colours.) But when we like people, when we see people who are amazing and wonderful, we say “God will make a special colour to write down your name!”
And we’ll be talking about you specifically when we say that.
(This is for Debbie Notkin and was posted as a response to her journal entry but it’s also in response to everything else on my reading list this morning. And it’s absolutely typical of me that I can’t think of a new mythological thing without immediately thinking of the heretical and schismatic versions of it.)