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fall color leavesIf you live in Michigan or some other northern state where the trees flash their annual fall colors, then you are well aware of this natural phenomenon. I am told people make pilgrimages to these northern states just to see the turning of the leaves. I am also told it is a spectacular site everyone should enjoy at least once in his life.

MY wife and I live in Michigan and we witness the annual array of color change regularly. My wife prods, cajoles, and sweet talks me until I give in. We get in the car and begin our trek north of where we live to view the changing of the colors. As I am driving she calls out, look at that crimson red.” And, “what beautiful orange.” She loves to tell me the colors, because, you see, I am colorblind.

This all started when I erroneously identified a brown car for a green car, and a blue car for a purple car. But I will save that story for another time. When it comes to being colorblind, people who are colorblind see color; they just cannot identify certain colors. So when she tells me the colors it makes no difference to me. I see grass and leaves as orange. When she points out some red leafed trees, I say, “Oh, they are beautiful.” I have no idea what color I am looking at.

There are a few colorblind tests people can take to determine if they are colorblind or not. One test, the Ishihara, uses a series of numbers placed on a figure ground background. People, who are colorblind, such as me, cannot distinguish between the number and the background color. It’s not that we cannot see colors, we just don’t see colors the way most people do.

So, when my wife points out the beautiful bright yellow leaves, I look in awe, and exclaim, “Spectacular, just spectacular.” The leaves could be bright green, bright orange or even bright amber color, I wouldn’t know. Yet, she loves to point out each and every color of the changing of the leaves.

This viewing of the changing of the fall colors has repeated itself annually since the year we started dating and that was over forty years ago.  She takes great pleasure in telling me the colors and I take great pleasure in her delight.

So if you are not colorblind or even if you are take the trip north and witness the beautiful changing of the colors. For those of you, who are colorblind like me, when the person you are with cries out, “Oh look at the gorgeous flaming orange leaves,” just enjoy the description.

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