On green, part one

Paris Green: The Trendy Color That Killed Many in Victorian Society - Town and Country - March 3, 2018

Paris Green: The Trendy Color That Killed Many in Victorian Society - Town and Country - March 3, 2018

The color green has been a tough one. If you look around during the bloom of spring and summer seasons, EVERYTHING is green; the ground cover and moss, grass, leaves, plants, and algae. It is everywere. In my pursuits of natural colors, green has been the hardest color for me to achieve.

Recently my sister sent me an article about Paris Green. https://www.townandcountry.ph/people/heritage/paris-green-history

The article describes the colors popularity as is was introduced into textiles, fashion and home decor once chemists were able to achieve it. The toxic makeup of Paris Green was known to cause much discomfort and even death to those who enjoyed it, due to the arsenic used to make the color.

I find myself in the same boat. The hue is magical and I am not really putting myself in danger in my pursuit of the perfect natural green, but I will say that I am somewhat obsessed with the color. And then - I found the green heron and also painted my bathroom green. It’s bright- my bathroom, like the color of Kermit the frog. Non-toxic now- but pales in comparison to the emerald tones of the green heron.

Green Heron - image from Cornell Lab of Ornithology - Simon Best

Green Heron - image from Cornell Lab of Ornithology - Simon Best

I’ve always loved the archaic shape and coloring of the Great Blue Heron. I discovered the Green Heron from various birding social media sites, the bird continually popping up with sightings throughout the Twin Cities. On the Cornell Lab of Ornithology - Birds of North America’s website there is "scarcely a stream, swamp, or shoreline where it may not be found, whether fresh or salt". I have not had such luck, yet. Here’s what I love about this bird:

Color- The green heron’s feathers are a wonderful display of rich browns, yellows, oranges and deep green.

Stance- This guy is a stought and stocky bird that has an thick and powerful neck that is quite surprising when extended. The heron will lurk along shorelines and also perches on trees.

It’s smarts- The Green Heron is unusual because it uses tools to capture its food. It drops sticks or lures to catch fish and small prey like frogs or lizards.

I watch for sightings online on ebird and often rush to the areas where people have found them. But, the times in the woods, swamps and in nature have been inspirational and in the meantime, I work on making green.

Emily Donovan