The recent assignment to notice the color blue wherever you see it, has been very interesting at the Yoga Path. It went well for the first week when many put a blue dot on their hand and wrist to be reminded to watch for it. We did this with permanent mark from a blue sharpie. I myself refreshed it daily with each class. Unfortunately the permanent marker was not so permanent, so it would soon wash off in a few days with frequent hand-washing. The blue could also transfer to you pillowcase and bed sheets, where it proved to be much more permanent than on human skin.
Nevertheless, the task of noticing blue yielded a few insights and some appreciation for this remarkable ability to see and distinguish the subtleties of color. But blue has mystery all it’s own. As the last Radiolab story revealed, blue is the last color the human consciousness notices. But Rebecca Solnit in A Field Guide to Getting Lost, examines our relationship to this color in life:
“The world is blue at its edges and in its depths. This blue is the light that got lost. Light at the blue end of the spectrum does not travel the whole distance from the sun to us. It disperses among the molecules of the air, it scatters in water. Water is colorless, shallow water appears to be the color of whatever lies underneath it, but deep water is full of this scattered light, the purer the water the deeper the blue. The sky is blue for the same reason, but the blue at the horizon, the blue of land that seems to be dissolving into the sky, is a deeper, dreamier, melancholy blue, the blue at the farthest reaches of the places where you see for miles, the blue of distance. This light that does not touch us, does not travel the whole distance, the light that gets lost, gives us the beauty of the world, so much of which is in the color blue.
For many years, I have been moved by the blue at the far edge of what can be seen, that color of horizons, of remote mountain ranges, of anything far away. The color of that distance is the color of an emotion, the color of solitude and of desire, the color of there seen from here, the color of where you are not. And the color of where you can never go. For the blue is not in the place those miles away at the horizon, but in the atmospheric distance between you and the mountains.”