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Surprisingly, “green” made me think of a lot of different things. I associate it with growth, well-being, and the beauty of the landscape.

I’ve painted a bit using water colors, and I find it fascinating how many shades of green there are, and how hard it is to duplicate the colors of nature. It’s funny how the greens in a box of crayons don’t come close to the shades of trees, grass, and foliage.

I remember the green cellophane grass that used to appear in the colorful Easter baskets of my youth, and of my children’s, too. The little peeps, the eggs — chocolate and dyed, the spring colors in foil and flowers. All this to celebrate rebirth, renewal, regrowth.

Why, then, do we have the unusual “green with envy”, or “green-eyed monster”? Apparently the Greeks associated illness with the color green. They believed that jealousy was accompanied by an overproduction of bile, lending a pallid green cast to the victim. (Perhaps that where “green around the gills came from?). Thus one could be sick with envy I suppose.

Not surprisingly it was Shakespeare that made use of the term dramatically. In Othello,  Iago warns Othello “beware, my lord, of jealousy;/It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock/The meat it feeds on.”

In Merchant of Venice, “How all the other passions fleet to air, / As doubtful thoughts, and rash-embraced despair, / And shuddering fear, and green-eyed jealousy!” Read more at http://www.writeincolor.com/2011/10/24/color-expression-of-the-day-green-with-envy/

Then of course there are “greenbacks”. I thought it just referred to early paper money, but in fact greenback refers to paper currency (printed in green on one side) issued by the United States during the American Civil War. They were in two forms: Demand Notes, issued in 1861–1862, and United States Notes issued in 1862–1865. The green backs were unpopular, because they were more like promissory notes than actual money. After several years, they became legal currency, though devalued.

 

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