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In praise of the color blue

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Summer Cloud

Let’s talk color. Specifically the color blue. Does this happen to be your favorite color? If so, you share this affinity with about 29% of other people (including “yours truly”) according to a 2012 poll (Click to read how blue ranks in popularity worldwide). But what does blue mean to you anyway?

The mental linkage between the word “blue” and being down or depressed aside, blue is an uplifting color in that it characterizes bodies of water (unless overrun with Styrofoam cups and pollutants or algae or such) and the skies above on a sunny day.

Scientists, of course, have found many interesting properties about blue light. For example, blue light at wavelengths of 670 and 830 nanometers ameliorates multiple sclerosis symptoms. And there is this: recently Nasa’s Curiosity rover on Mars captured images of a blue sunset on the red planet! (Click to access a CNN story on this phenomenon)

Sunset on Mars

With your indulgence, dear reader, I’d like to share a little about my own love affair with blue. I trace much of this to a natural association of blue with the skies over North Texas (where I was born and grew up), especially during the summer months. It is the medium in which is suspended those billowy wonders made of liquid droplets that inspired my American Indian name (Summer Cloud).

 

Clouds - the mark of summer in Plainview

Photo taken in Plainview, TX during August 2011

It is also the color of one of my favorite gemstones, turquoise (“Sky stone” in American Indian parlance) and is the color of the stone in my college ring (Blue spinel).

Like many American Indians I carry a medicine bag (which bears an artistic rendering of the summer clouds I captured in a photo taken near my late maternal grandparents farm outside Plainview, Texas). The contents of my bag? You guessed it, turquoise has a place of honor in it, as does a reddish stone taken from what was once the gravel driveway of my grandparent’s country farmhouse. These items serve as a physical connection to my ancestry; one that summons up all kinds of joyous memories and associations.

Here is a photo of my medicine bag and its lithic contents:

photo 4

 

 Photo F

And finally, I would be remiss if I did not add two other blue favorites —

There is Neptune, the gaseous giant rendered blue by the absorption of red light by atmospheric methane.

Neptune - image taken by Nasa's Voyager

Photo taken by Nasa’s Voyager 2 spacecraft

And the Pleiades star cluster also known as the “Seven Sisters”,..

 1024px-Pleiades_large

Nasa/Palomar

..which is admittedly more blue-white than “true blue”. This particular star cluster holds special significance to we American Indians and many other cultures as well including the Japanese (In Japanese this star formation is called the “Subaru”). I am cognizant of the fact some people believe that advanced alien civilizations exist on planets in or near the Pleiades cluster and have visited earth. I cherish the Pleiades for a different reason. Namely, yes, because it emits blue light — but also due to the fact that I associate it with seven (7) students of mine in Japan who became “The 7 Princesses” (I selected these seven to serve as role models for specific trait and virtues I felt the other young people in my orbit were neglecting or had let bad economic times eclipse). One of the seven became both a princess and my Nihonjin musume (daughter). Click to read more. [Note bene: I am 70 pages into a manuscript that lays out the story of moi and my seven princesses]

Seven is the number of perfection in Hebrew numerology (Associated with the Almighty), and in my mind with the color blue.

Do you sing the praises of blue? If not, why not?

 

Further Reading

Click to read “The Pleiades in Mythology”

 

© 2015 by Dr. Anthony G. Payne. All rights reserved,

Virtual cloud watching for you

Magestic clouds (So West Texas)As a boy in Lubbock (Texas) I spent many lazy summer afternoons just lying prone on a bed of rich green grass and cloud watching (While, yes, looking for recognizable patterns or characters). I bet you did your fair share of childhood cloud watching too. If  so, you’ll appreciate this video immensely: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cf1P4WuQ8Lk 

And here’s a perspective-expanding book to read while you cloud watch: Faces in the Clouds by Stewart Guthrie, Ph.D.

Choctaw Doc

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