Fragmentary Blue (Rambles in the Rainbow Garden: Part 4)


“Why is there so much fragmentary blue?!”

My visitor was surveying 1000 puzzle pieces, in only slightly varying shades of blue, spilled out on the dining room table–which is very rarely used for food.

He promptly summoned a burst of Robert Frost:

Why make so much of fragmentary blue
In here and there a bird, or butterfly,
Or flower, or wearing-stone, or open eye,
When heaven presents in sheets the solid hue?

I still gravitate to peeks of blue: a heron clunkily lifting off from a river’s edge, my son’s azure eyes, a swatch of cobalt silk.

But my thoughts remain so much more tangled up in those endless sheets of unreachable blue which, despite their vastness, seem so much more welcoming and hopeful than when they become shaded down by degrees to midnight.

I feel less alone when blue occupies the horizon.  I’m not sure I’ve ever felt as alone as I did at night, on an airplane hurtling so fast it seemed suspended in place, a dot in an infinite, barren black universe.

When night falls, the sky seems both more and less than blue.  With a dank, dark sky I can’t see my fellow creatures.  Their calls and rustles turn foreboding, their locations less predictable.  Snapped twigs begin to unnerve me only after nightfall.

Not so in blue light.  Monarchs dance, and stalwart fall flowers–even as their petals crisp and curl and begin to collapse–glow against it.  Leaves and buds only alive by half beam in contrast.  Even a raven’s caw seems less mournful against an unbroken cerulean sky.

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Soul-Settling Yellow (Rambles in the Rainbow Garden: Part 3)


By the winter when our youngest daughter was born, her brothers were old enough to conduct experiments upon her.

They held up a quarter-yard of pale yellow fabric and studied their baby sister’s reaction as it registered, first in her enormous amber eyes, then in her expressive pink-gummed smile.

They went through the yellow line-up: lined index cards, butterscotch game pieces, a golden diamond of honeycomb, bright tape, a stick of butter, loud book bindings.

It was buttercup yellow, with a soupcon of true orange, that made her eyes dance.

Thus they deduced her favorite color was this particular, sunny shade of yellow.

It takes some effort to find unhappiness in yellow.

Certain colors seem to settle the soul.

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Reflected Refraction

335Upon reflection

Sometimes double refraction

Best captures the light


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Rounded with a Sleep


Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Ye all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep. . . .

Prospero, The Tempest, Act 4, Scene 1

A bridge half-swallowed by fog seems the stuff of disturbed dreams.  

But it seems equally otherworldly to happen in a city upon fields of grapefruit-sized lavender flowers, or fairy dwellings–or to see Suessian scarlet roping spilling from around a tree, a misty reflected shoreline, and layered clouds bubble and bruise before folding themselves into lambs and lions while children listen to their bedtime stories.   

My life may be short on revels, but even in daylight hours it can hold the dream world’s gloriously non-linear tumult, discord, and mystery.


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