Thursday, October 25, 2007

Yellow Maple Leaves Make Me Happy

How does yellow make you feel?

Yellow sugar maple leavesOur old sugar maple has taken on its autumn color. It's always very, very yellow.

I am mildly fond of yellow, in subdued tints and shades, but I do not like a lot of intense yellow in my clothing or my home. However, I think this tree is beautiful, and when I stand beneath it and bathe in its golden glow for a few minutes, I feel happy.

The yellow color of these leaves brings back some nice memories of the kids raking up huge heaps of leaves and jumping into them from their swing. Our old kitty, Happy, who was young then, loved playing in the leaves too. He liked to be covered up, and then to spring out and "surprise" everyone.

My happy feelings about these yellow leaves made me wonder what the psychological effect of yellow is supposed to be. I won't claim that I conducted exhaustive research, but I did read a few webpages on the topic of color psychology, and here's what I found. Negative effects are noted in italics.

  • Yellow in the American culture: Sunny, cheerful, inspiring, high spirit, caution, cowardice (Source)
  • Connotations of yellow in Western cultures: Happy, friendly, optimistic, cowardly, annoying, brash (Source)
  • Yellow in the home: Sunny, energetic, creative, intellectually stimulating, friendly, inviting. Deep shades "can enhance feelings of emotional distress." (Source)
  • Effects of yellow: Feelings of optimism, enlightenment, and happiness, a promising future, energy, creativity (Source)

See also:
All About Yellow
The Psychology of Color

Maple leaves, with brilliant yellow autumn colorThis photo also appears in a post on my tree blog.

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Mark said...

Nice. The leaves are just starting to turn around here. Some will look good, but a lot won't because of the drought.

Genevieve said...

Hi, Mark. I know the rain was spotty in Alabama, but I hope you got a good rain where you live.

I don't think this is going to be a fall for spectacular color here, either. The maples will be the best of it.

Collagemama said...

The yellow of the ginko and sweetgum leaves near my old library make me ridiculously happy. I'm looking forward to working as a sub at the library this weekend just so I can check out the foliage.

Genevieve said...

I love the way ginkos look in the fall too.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.