Rainbow colored canopies float weightlessly across the sky. A few pause in their flight, circling and hovering above us like multi-hued hummingbirds.
It has happened.
A playful invasion of umbrellas is taking place while humans below blink in amazement at the sight. What were they? From where did they come?
An unfamiliar genesis of color is rapidly lifting the spirits of children and old people. Children because they have never known color before. Old people because they remember when color retreated from their lives.
Close to one hundred years ago, the rains began to fall more frequently and the sun slipped even further from the earth. Muted in silver, deep grey lakes pooled where scorpions and lizards had long survived in hostile desert sands. It grew cooler. The people dressed in layers and shivered slightly, wondering when the sun would return.
In time, all things began to lose their color. A thick drab grey painted all clothing, signs, goods and tools. It rained so much that many common household items remained in a damp and dreary pall.
Dyes ran bright, then muddied the creeks and rivers that flooded neighborhoods and sunk towns.
The people literally watched the color flow down their drains, through the streets and out to sea. Looking at the faces of their neighbors, it was hard to tell who was who anymore. Everyone dressed in grey leggings and drab smocks.
There was no more paint in their stores with which one might create a story or a song. Unappreciated, the light had been extinguished.
Today the youngest generation does not understand the meaning of “red”, “purple”, “yellow” or “blue”. The skies are cloaked in perpetual grey. The water that falls and pools and ripples in the backyards is cinereal. When the grasses and flowers perished in the flood, the earth remained bare.
A few years ago the word “spring” was officially eliminated from the dictionary. This gesture was a nail in the coffin of the world that once was. It killed the hope that color once existed, and could be found again.
In the dawn-yet-not-dawn that brought neither sunshine nor warmth, people began to rise. Daybreak brought enough light by which one could navigate without electricity or fire, but the light remains cloudlike. A thunderstorm always threatens the forecast for the day.
A child squinted as he looked upward and spied something unusual. A circular object was spinning and creating… shadows? Of what, exactly? The boy sprinted home to alert his parents.
They were coming. Thousands of bright and beautiful floating umbrellas made their way to hover above the dreary town square in the town called, simply, Town. There appeared to be one parasol for each citizen of Town. People began to run out into the streets. Traffic came to a halt. The Internet lit up like historic Roman candles supposedly had, and promptly crashed.
Children started making a sound that was alarming but made the old people smile. Their toothless grins stretched slowly widening their wrinkly faces as they recognized Laughter.
Clouds breaking, a single ray of light illuminated the weathered faces of the people and caused them to blush. Scarcely recognizing themselves, they were humbled, filled with regret and longing for the days in which their great-grandparents had lived and loved in color.
Today the air itself was stirring and penetrating the lives of those who kept hope alive and secret in their hearts. The feathers of the birds scattered among the grey trees were turning…. turning… into a bluish reddish grey. They were shockingly lovely.
What had shifted?
Was it a fool’s paradise or was it real?
Who sent the rainbow umbrellas?
This post was written in response to a prompt by Write on Edge.