First page of the sky archive.

Accumulations of Blue

Posted by Ayden LeRoux on June 3, 2015 (Comments Closed) as , , , ,

I’m back in New York City now, musing on my final map and all the blues I saw in Alaska. The most beautiful blues of course were not manufactured. They were the startling ones, the glimmer of the magpie wing, a gift of berries, my fingers stained with stamp ink as I press the rubber onto white, white paper. The sky is spectacular ink. Now, in the city, the blues don’t seem as luminous as they did in Anchorage. They don’t shimmer and pulse the same way they did in Alaska. Here my vision of the sky is cluttered by skyscrapers rather than treetops. I like to imagine the buildings are gathering bits of sky on their upper floors, as their name might suggest.

 

I look at the grid of blue sky I gathered from Alaska and think maybe, in spite of my small stature, I was playing the part of a skyscraper while I was in Anchorage. My neck arched upward, peering at the bed of blue. I cut the sky into small cubes, pieces of time portioned out. The clouds peek in, curtains that obstruct the blue, filter and transform it. Blue is the color of accumulating time, time passing, time fading and stacking.

 

 

Every Blue I Saw

blue eyes

blue shadows

blue eye shadow

blue postal uniform

blue balloon

blueberries

my blue-stained fingers

blue magpie wing

blue knit hat

blue duct tape

blue thread

blue pencil sharpener

blue inkpad

blue cracker package

blue retractable dog leash

blue sleeping bag

blue shed

blue cars

blue sandal straps

blue boxtop

blue bottle caps

blue pencil case

blue shorts

blue warning sign

blue bandana

blue railings

blue Snapple lid

blue quilt

blue canoe straps

blue fence

blue inflatable kayak

blue cardboard box

blue portapotty water

blue glass earrings

blue gazebo frame

blue hat buttons

blue barrette

blue trash dumpster

blue bathroom door

blue sweater

blue jeans

blue checked plaid

blue fleece

blue water bottle

blue pencil

blue vest

blue paint container

blue pompom

blue sweatshirt

blue coat

blue hat lettering

blue vehicles

blue bike

blue hat

blue thread on patch

blue t-shirt

blue dress

blue swing set

blue jungle gym

blue zip lock bag

blue signs

blue bike helmet

blue purse

blue baseball cap

blue socks

blue label on charcoal bag

blue label on water bottle

blue wrap

blue tattoo ink

blue sneakers

blue chalk

blue Budweiser label

blue playing card scrap

blue bike

blue chambray shirt

blue sunscreen can

sky

water

Losing Blue

Posted by Ayden LeRoux on May 21, 2015 (Comments Closed) as , , , , , ,

As we move farther along the trail, it becomes more forested and blues are few. I bike along the trail and through culverts; the corrugated metal tunnels make me feel like I am inside a whale’s throat. I pass into an esophagus and become temporarily blind as the darkness abruptly swallows me. My eyes see like a maladjusted camera that takes backlit pictures and only the echoes of other trail users serve to steer me from trampling them. Just as quickly as I entered the throat I’m released into the winding trail. Here, the green of the woods overwhelms blue and I’m left only with glimpses of the latter: a flash of a cyclist’s navy sweatshirt, a corner of a blue tarp from a camp of someone who lives along the trail, and the ribbon of the creek as it carves its way alongside the path.

A few years ago, I heard a Radiolab episode about color, which told the story of William Gladstone, an academic who analyzed Homer’s writing and found some rather peculiar uses of color. Sheep were violet, the sea was “wine-dark,” red was used frequently, and there was not one mention of blue. After conducting further research, he found that this absence of blue held up throughout ancient texts across cultures (including the bible) and other colors were only gradually put to use later. He eventually concluded that in Homeric times humans perceived primarily black, white and red. Slowly, later generations gained the ability to see the rest of the spectrum of color.

As I move deeper into the woods, I pause for a morning alongside a turn in the creek and ruminate on Homer. The water starts to appear differently to my eye. The skin of the stream ripples with the colors of its surroundings and beneath that superficial skin is an inky substance. After being attuned to blue in a single-minded way since the start of our hike, the creek is no longer blue to my eyes. The sky, however, is unceasing. No matter how little of it I can see through the canopy and clouds, the sky will continue to be deep, penetrating blue.

Sky Scales

Posted by Ayden LeRoux on May 20, 2015 (Comments Closed) as , , , ,

I recently read of a Swiss physicist named Horace Benedict de Saussure who, living in the 1700s, wanted to measure the intensity of blue in the sky. He created the cyanometer, a round dial that had 53 shades of blue, moving from white through a range of blue to black. I find this to be at once beautiful and troubling. […]