Paint Away the Gray

College is a pivotal point in one’s life where it is necessary to develop an attitude. In this stage, one must figure out their preferences and feelings towards adulthood‒a process that involves learning how to navigate the world of buying groceries, taking the subway home late after work, or finding a quiet moment in an otherwise chaotic and unending day.

How we approach our experiences is contingent unto the way in which we experience them. That’s a lesson I would liked to have known going into my first winter in Boston. In the coming months, it’s going to get darker, colder, and grayer. We’ll lose color, we’ll lose light. The warmth will need to come from within ourselves; we will need to radiate out onto the snow and the concrete and the dirt.


The perceptions and attitudes we bring to the streets add to Boston, make Boston what it is. Often, I find misery in commuting, and in other commuters, and this is amplified by the snow, the cold, the lack of vitamin D. During the winter, people seem to withdraw into themselves and into their homes, or, if they’re college students like us, into dorms and apartments.


But there are some of us that breathe life into December, into January, into the freezing wind that rips apart anyone trying to cross from Boylston to Tremont. Some of us make snowmen in the Commons and the Public Garden, have snowball fights on the Esplanade, and attempt to inch our way across the ice that solidifies above the Charles. Even though everyone seems to take the holidays for all that they are worth, the joy that comes from them only lives on in some of us after we come back from winter break. Others, and I suppose I include myself in this category, come back resenting the world of black and white and gray.

But when I look at Tom’s photos, I think that it’s all about attitude. That’s what his photos say to me‒that within the real and the experienced is the room for our emotional recognition of our perceptions. If you’re in a dark place, add a little color yourself. Joy comes from inside you. Spread it all around, paint the world with it, the best that you can, until spring comes along.

Text by Tyler Breen

Photography by Tom McLaughlin