04 June 2010


Blue has always been a favorite color for me, and especially its purplish variants, although of late I am drawn more to acqua. My parents’ eyes were blue, as were Rusty’s, and my daughters. [Mine, though often thought to be blue, are actually green, but they take on a blue tinge from my frequent wearing of blue clothes.] I have always found blue to be both soothing and startling, not unlike the contrast here in California of lighter blue skies with deep blue waters.

Blue is both simple and complex. It falls on the color line. However, there are multiple meanings and multiple uses.

Bluestockings. Bluenotes. The blueline in hockey. The blueplate special. A blueprint. Blue ribbon…

Blue is the color of twilight and midnight. Blue often symbolizes the Virgin Mary in art. The ancient Egyptians used lapis lazuli to represent heaven. A pure blue is the color of inspiration, sincerity and spirituality. It is also the color of royalty.Blue is now the color of democratic states [an accident of the media, or is it?] Dark blue is the color of truth and moderation. [Note the use by companies like Dow Chemical and American Express, and of course the ubiquitous Microsoft blue screen.] Wednesday's color is blue [also the day I was born.] Blue gemstones that equate to calm are blue sapphire and blue topaz. Lapis lazuli and azurite are said to heighten psychic power. Turquoise is the symbol of youth, both the color and the gemstone. Aqua is the color of high ideals [perhaps this is a message to me to maintain these in the land of leisure.]

Pier One, where I enjoy shopping now and then, is always high on acqua, which I suspect has more to do with its easy compatibility than idealogy. No accident that my everyday dishes are marine blue, my couch an aqua-tan stripe, my soft throw blanket seafoam… Blue is said to symbolize trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, truth, and heaven. A lovely color scheme.

It is said that blue provides a feeling of distance – artists use it to show perspective – although I suspect Picasso had more on his mind during his Blue period. Psychics say that the color blue has a distinct energy that allows us to look beyond and increase our perspective outward. And that it contains a cool vibration that is helpful to communication. In the range of spectral colors, blues sit between purples and green, on the darker ends of the scale. This might explain why the blues became associated with melancholy, although supposedly there was a blue tinge to the eyes of those who suffer depression, when first described eons ago. There is also an association with blue devils, as in hallucinations. Seems so odd to me that a word that means everything from heavenly to high ideals can also come to be associated with sadness. And the music, which derives from the emphasis on “blue notes” is perhaps the definitive description of bittersweet.

There is the equivalent of an entire column of meanings for blue and related words in my Thesaurus [I did not take the time to count the number of synonyms, but there must be hundreds.] There seems to me in Southern California a preponderance of blue flowers, including the purples. Do the UV rays sink in more deeply in some way, or bathe plantings in a brighter light? Or is it the soil, as the hydrangea here tend to be more blue than pink.

I have lots of blue/purple flowers blooming in my yard. My house continues to be dominated by blue accents. Shades of blue, has a ring to it, doesn’t it? Thus, whether I sit at my computer or walk on a path on the cliffs above the Pacific, I am warmly embraced by blue. It has become for me the color of warm. So that I am rarely blue.

Photo compliments of L. Byron Cann.

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