Black, White and Grey

For many the word ‘grey’ is now associated with pornography of a peculiarly mind-numbing banality, but for anyone who loves printing and typography, it is a beautiful word, shimmering between black and white. Grey is a soft colour, susceptible of an infinite variety of tints and gradations. It can be warm or cold, light or dark. What it can never be, to the eye that sees it aright, is dull or boring. It is a creative colour, as black and white are creative colours.

I was thinking about that this morning as I looked out of my window. The snowy fields and slopes are black, white and grey with, here and there, a touch of grey-brown where a tree trunk or wall has escaped the snow. It is the world as a printer might see it: all the important shapes sketched in; the blocks of type and margins allocated; the colours of ink and paper chosen; everything waiting for the moment when the book begins to take shape and meaning flows.

When the earth was without form and void, and the Spirit hovered over it, I wonder whether that was how God saw what he was about to create: a world of meaning from black, white and grey. I rather hope so.

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