TALES OF AN ORANGEPEELER
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I took photos of the sky at dusk. Inky clouds raced across the firmament, as pink and gold seams ran here and there. In the distance Benbo loomed. Peat-sloped and waterlogged, it appeared russet in the gloaming, a dark, redhaired, sleeping giant.
Russet was the color of the coarse woolen cloth that poor people were required by law to wear in medieval England. It is also the name of an apple, and the name of a potato; so called for their rough skin. Russet was also associated with sorrow, and the gravely serious. So with regret a character in Shakespeare's "Love's Labour's Lost" says, "Henceforth my wooing mind shall be express'd / In russet yeas and honest kersey noes." One might say that russet applies to what has obtained a raw texture or feeling. This rawness can be attributed to a number of factors—nature, time, loss, even the malice of others.
Was it winter when Shakespeare’s Biron said it? Here we are, in this winter of discontent, riven with disappointment after the Senate passed the Republicans' malevolent tax plan through a shoddy deliberative process that bodes ill for democracy. Here I am in the West of Ireland, taking photos of the sky, to distract myself from the garbage fire that is America.