The current meeting of the Round Table would have to be the final one before commencement of work on the great Project. The 40 x 95 foot mural, entitled Paradise on Earth,
had been discussed at considerable length at the previous five meetings, highlighted by an unprecedented appearance of Lady Chameleon, Muse of Color, fixing in the minds of all the
Colors the importance of what they were about to do, a mural which would be their best chance of saving the world and all life upon it. The human species had reached a point at
which it would have to change its ways dramatically or suffer extinction. The Conductor and the twelve Colors had come to the conclusion that the only way to save the world was to
demonstrate to people that the Earth could in fact be a Paradise for all, if the human race could muster the will and understanding to make it so.
Their strategy was to depict a variety of natural features, along with a selection of flora and fauna, so beautifully that people would be shamed by
their destructive treatment of the planet, and at the same time realize that the wonders of the Earth could provide them with the happiness they sought, if only they could agree to
let it happen. That a great mural could save the world and all living things on it was a novel idea, perhaps the product of wishful thinking. But nothing else had worked, nor
seemed likely to work. In recent centuries human civilization had learned many things and made discoveries leading to the invention of marvels. But the human species had not
learned how to solve the problems of greed, injustice, egomania, wastefulness, tribalism and xenophobia. It had not learned how to control its aggressive and warlike nature. The
discoveries and inventions of which it was so proud had too been used for the work of destruction. A great scientist of the 20th century had issued a warning: You cannot solve your
problems by using the same kind of thinking that caused those problems.
The Kingdom of Color and its conductors had always existed somewhat apart from the rest of the world. Now, however, they sensed that the time had come
for them to step forward and offer humanity a new way of thinking. They had of course been trying for centuries to give people a different way of looking at the realities of life,
and although they had been recognized and admired, they had not been taken very seriously. In recent decades they felt that they had been, against their wishes and purposes,
assimilated by the entertainment industry, a part of the problem that threatened to destroy everything.
As the Knights and Ladies of the Round Table seated themselves, the Conductor gazed around at those twelve familiar faces, searching them in a meaningful
and heartfelt way, and then began his speech. “My friends,” he said, “this is our last meeting before we begin work on our momentous Project, Paradise on Earth.
We have spent a great deal of time discussing the elements of this work, and I believe with good results. If any of you has new inspiration, now is the time to speak up. Remember
that what we are about to do may well turn out to be the most important thing that has ever happened on this planet.” He paused to let this sink in. “Now,” he
went on, “it’s a matter of being in top form, of bringing the best in each of us into the work. As always, the plan will be of my design, and I have been working on
such a plan. Yes, I have spent quite a few sleepless nights over this, yet I can’t be sure that what I’ve come up with will achieve the result we hope for. In any case,
we can but try. No matter what happens, whether we save the world or not, I want you to know that I am honored to call you my friends. It has always been a delight, sometimes an
ecstatic delight, working with you all, and the many members of your Families.” The Conductor paused and looked around the Table with a sentimental, almost tearful smile.
“What we are about to do will probably be the highlight of our careers. It will be, I believe, our finest hour. And now, having said that, I would like to ask each of you if
you have any final suggestions before we begin the work. Lady Blue, do you have anything to add to what has already been said?”
Lady Blue stood and bowed to each Color at the Table, and then to the Conductor. “I had a dream last night,” she said, “in which
something marvelous appeared, something I can only describe as ‘warm ice.’ It seemed to me it would be a wonderful addition to our Paradise on Earth, and it
occurred to me that my sister, Lady Cobalt, might play the role quite well. And that is really all I have to add.” Lady Blue smiled and gracefully reseated herself.
“Thank you, Lady Blue,” said the Conductor. “I like the idea, and I’ll give it serious consideration. What about you, Sir Red?
Sir Red stood abruptly and nodded to all present. “I too had a dream,” he began. “In my dream everything in our Paradise was supremely
alive, even the skies and the waters, and the land itself. It galvanized me. . . and I think it would do the same to anyone who saw it. That’s all I really wish to add.”
“Yes,” replied the Conductor, “I came to the conclusion some time ago that our Paradise ought to be very serene and very alive at the
same time. Do you agree with this, Sir Yellow?”
“Absolutely!” declared Sir Yellow. “In this case we are in the business of enlightenment, and enlightenment always has that vibration,
that quality of extreme activity and extreme stillness. The sun is like that, and as the supreme symbol of life, the sun can do many wonderful things to influence the minds of
“I gather,” said the Conductor, “you are suggesting we include the sun in our depiction of Paradise. Don’t worry. It will be
there. What else? Do you have anything to add, Sir Orange?”
Sir Orange rose with a flourish and saluted the Conductor. “ I have only one request. . . excuse me, I mean suggestion. And that is that among the
animals in our Paradise there should be a gerenuk.”
“Aha!” exclaimed the Conductor. “I am ahead of you there, Sir Orange. I had already decided that the gerenuk will have a prominent
place in our mural.” The Conductor then turned to Lady Violet. “What else, Lady Violet? What else?”
“Well,” said Lady Violet, lifting herself sensuously from her chair,” I really do believe there should be gorgeous flowers, all
strategically placed throughout our Paradise, to remind people that Nature itself is the most heavenly part of life on Earth.”
“Do you agree with that, Lady Magenta?” the Conductor inquired.
“Oh yes!” replied Lady Magenta. “And I would add that these flowers ought to show the range and depth of the Kingdom of Color.”
“Very good,” said the Conductor. “Actually, I had long ago decided to make flowers a highlight of our mural. And now, let’s see.
. . what about you, Sir Cadmium? Anything to add?”
Sir Cadmium half rose from his chair and said emphatically, “All I ask is no peacocks.”
“What do you have against peacocks?” Lady Lime demanded to know.
“As I said at the last meeting,” Sir Cadmium answered, “they represent Nature at its phoniest. To include them in Paradise would be a
“Don’t worry, Sir Cadmium,” said the Conductor. “Your point is well taken. But Lady Lime, I’m curious. Do you think there
should be a peacock in Paradise?”
“No, not really,” replied Lady Lime. “But I do think there should be some colorful birds.”
“Of course,” the Conductor agreed. “You may rest assured, there will be. And now. . . perhaps a word from you, Lady Vermilion. Last
chance for some input.”
Lady Vermilion stood and graced the Table with one of her radiant smiles. “You all know I am partial to things that are warm,” she said.
“Perhaps a hint of fire in our Paradise would be appropriate. Fire is an important part of Nature. I understand its destructive aspects, but it is also benevolent--and
“Would a fiery sunset or sunrise satisfy you?” inquired the Conductor.
“Yes, I think that would do nicely,” Lady Vermilion answered.
“Then I think you will be happy with what I have in mind,” said the Conductor. “And what about you, Lady Ultra? Anything you would like
Lady Ultra stood and bowed slightly to the Conductor. “Speaking of sunrises and sunsets,” she began, “there are, as you know, certain
subtle shades in these phenomena, colors I think some members of my Family could represent very well. It is something you might consider.”
“I already have, Lady Ultra. You may be sure that your Family will play an important part in Paradise on Earth.”
At this point Sir Purple indicated a desire to speak, and the Conductor nodded. “Perhaps I’ve already expressed my feelings on this matter at
a previous meeting, but I would like to reiterate my belief that our Paradise should evoke the expectation of continuous joy, well-being and dignity, a kind of solid state of
“Yes,” the Conductor said, “this is no doubt essential, and one of the most difficult things we have to do.” The Conductor looked
around the Table and stopped at Sir Green. “Well, Sir Green, we have had a word from everyone but you. We begin tomorrow. So you have the final word.”
Sir Green stood and received his usual round of warm smiles from the other Colors. “Sir,” he said, “none of us knows exactly what you
have in mind and that’s as it should be. All I can say is that every one of us wants to do all we can to save your species, and all other life on the planet. We know
what’s at stake, and you can be sure we will all be performing at our absolute best. I believe we can do it. And so I say--long live the green planet!”
“And long live the blue planet!” Lady Blue shouted.
The Conductor stood and raised his glass. “I propose a toast,” he said, at which all the Knights and Ladies stood, glasses in hand.
“Long live the Kingdom of Color! And long live the race of Conductors!” They all raised their glasses and drank. “Now go in good cheer.
The next time I see you will be at the wall.”
The Colors of the Round Table dispersed, each of them wearing an expression of hope and resolve, as well as a gleam of anticipation, knowing that for the
next few weeks they would be experiencing joyfulness. And sometimes ecstasy.