I have yellow irises, I have purple irises, and starting about four years ago, I even have mixed-race yellow-and-purple irises that appeared all on their own. These last are very cool, despite the fact that they are kind of ugly: yellow and purple really don’t mix. Actually, I came perilously close to painting my living room purple two years ago, and it was only the thought of the contrast it would make with the yellow of my writing room that dissuaded me.
I’ve never regretted painting this room yellow: it’s a cheerful color that seems particularly fitting in a 19th-century cottage, for some reason. There are certain bars I visit in my dreams with yellow décor, and they are also always appealing empty — no noisy drunks, not even a bartender. You just pour a yellow drink into a glass and savor the warmth in your throat, like liquid sunshine. Maybe this is what an iris is like to a bumblebee: a self-serve bar with bright translucent walls. And when irises close, I love the way they fold up tight as six-fingered fists. It’s as if the garden is mounting an insurrection against the sun.