The Star-Herald

All things brown

I have never been a fan of the color brown, so I was quite surprised when just about 2 1/2 years ago, I went into a local furniture store and decided to purchase a sofa, loveseat, stuffed chair and ottoman — all in the color brown with just a faint linear olive green stripe. 

My only goal that day was to discover furniture that was comfortable, and this ensemble fit the bill. In addition to the set, I purchased two lamps that were also brown, with simulated petrified wood bases and spotted beige shades. I am not suggesting that these pieces were distasteful; they were just not my usual choices. I like chocolate browns and sweet caramel browns, but this particular brown reminded me of wet soil; the color of mud.

I moved from my modest little house of 25 years into a lovely townhouse. Next, I relocated again after one year into a private rental. Both of these homes were in Caribou. The brown set went dutifully with me, perched neatly in the living rooms of both rentals and adorned with the most colorful fleece throws and pillows imaginable. 

Underneath all of that color however, the mundane hue remained; gently haunting me I retired from my job of over 30 years, said goodbye to my passion for writing, and settled myself into those mud brown cushions. I was a chamaeleon, changing from brightness to darkness. I was, quite literally, “stuck in the mud.” 

I longed for myself. My sister and I were living in beautiful luxurious homes and I felt homeless. I could not move back to the house my husband and I built together, because without him there it was unbearable for me. I felt abandoned, hopeless, lonely, guilty, angry; all of the symptoms that accompany grief. I didn’t want to sit by idly day after day, but I also did not want to go back to work. I just wanted to go home- wherever home might be.

Without warning or contemplation, my sister and I found a house on the market that seemed to fit our needs and we did not hesitate buying it for even a second. Everything seemed to fall into place and we are soon to close on the purchase of this house. I marched right back into the furniture store and chose a set with the sort of color that I thrive upon. As for the mud brown living room set? It has found a place with people who appreciate it and will find great comfort from its quality craftsmanship.

I am writing once again. I am laughing more often and getting lost in the art of baking a red velvet cake. I am reading real books; the kind that fall into your lap when you close your eyes, and wait patiently for you to resume the adventure. I am driving around with my sister in our little blue convertible with our prairie hats on.

I am sitting or napping on ocean foam colored cushions now that do not devour me. The brown lamps are living in my basement, still covered and waiting for just the right person to come along and recognize their function and  their own unique beauty. And as for me? Well, my dear friends, I am home. I am home.

Belinda Ouellette lives in Caribou with her Goldendoodle, Barney.  You may email her at

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