Not sure if you’ve noticed this, but Colors of the Wind is an awesome song. It blends expert wordsmithing with Pocahontas’s “save the earth” vibes, plus just really, really good music. The result is not only enjoyable, but it gets results: by the end of the song, John Smith is totally buying what Pocahontas is selling. Plus maybe he also loves her.
Pocahontas starts out with a bit of sassiness, a little challenge to John Smith’s closed-minded “own the land” “you guys don’t know how to farm properly” thinking. Look how she lifts John Smith’s helmet, showing how he is “blinded” and she’s about to help him “see” with the help of all her awesome nature metaphors. TRUTH ALERT COMING AT YOU JOHN SMITH!
Next, she *rhetorically* asks John Smith “how can there be so much that you don’t know?” right as that awesome melody from the song kicks in and the pretty leaves float by on the wind. Oh it is ON!
Then she saves a bear that John Smith was scared of for no apparent reason other than it was a bear, leading her to this great lyric that everyone should keep in mind always, all of the time…
Dang, that is some good stuff. Just think: there are things you don’t even know you don’t know because you are you and not someone else. If those three lines of words don’t make you feel empathy, then you should probably go watch Pocahontas immediately.
Then Pocahontas sings about some things that are very naturey but also most of us have never done, really implicating the viewer into the film in this moment. HAVE YOU ever heard the wolf cry to the blue corn moon? HAVE YOU ever asked the grinning bobcat why he grins?
CAN YOU sing with all the voices of the mountains? CAN YOU paint with all the colors of the wind? Wind has colors? Wait what? Doesn’t matter, it’s beautiful. Maybe it doesn’t make sense, but it just feels right, which is why this song is perfection.
Next, she goes on to sing about some things that we CAN do including: run the hidden pine trails of the forest, taste the sun-sweet berries of the earth, and of course, roll in all the riches all around you, and for once never wonder what they’re worth. Do not ask what that pine cone can do for you, ask what you can do for that pine cone.
Then she gets to the Pocahontas version of the Circle of Life: “we are all connected to each other, in a circle, in a hoop that never ends.” Pretty epic stuff, especially when accompanied by an image of John Smith and Pocahontas reflected in the eye of a falcon!
She puts forth the ultimate challenge to John Smith: “How high can the sycamore grow? If you cut it down, then you’ll never know.” Shut. The. Front. Door. All of the beautiful, verdant potential of nature, and the only thing standing in its way is man, but it doesn’t have to be so! Especially because the song isn’t quite over yet…
Finally, Pocahontas, that genius of the song lyric, that nature poet of the Powhatan people, puts it to John Smith like this: “You can own the Earth and still all you’ll own is earth until you can paint with all of the colors of the wind.” See the difference in those two “earths,” one is the planet, the other is just dirt. You’ll only own dirt until you learn the real value of what makes the earth ALIVE. Except she says it much better, which is why we are even writing this article.