The Blue

The writer’s role is what it has always been: he is a custodian, a secretary…I have always felt charged with the safekeeping of all unexpected items of worldly or unworldly enchantment, as though I might be held personally responsible if even a small one were to be lost. ~E.B. White

Over the last month or so I’ve paid closer attention to something I’ve noticed for years. I’ll do my best to describe this enchantment. It will help you to know that I rise early—4:30/5am—and read, and write, and be. That reading, and writing, and being takes place as I sit at our kitchen table and look west through a sliding glass door at Colorado’s Front Range, specifically Mt. Herman (9063 ft). The sun rises in the east (you know this), so as I read, and write, and be, I am witness to the dawn, this gradual illumination of my world, which based on my position, is centered on the face of Mt. Herman. As you would imagine, the peak gets hit first, and then the light slowly eases down the face until the whole show is on fire. There are mornings when this performance is clouded, but with over 300 days of sunshine a year, unclouded days are the norm.

And while that is a wonder I never tire of, it is not what I wish to describe for you, for the enchantment of which I speak is something that occurs just before the light breaks, and while, as I said, I’ve noticed it for years, here lately it has felt closer, truer. What I’m talking about is, well, the blue. There are a handful of minutes between the black of night and the bright of dawn when everything out my sliding glass door goes blue. It begins dark, inky blue, the kind of blue you experienced when you sat on one of those old Bic pens in school (remember those?). That Bic blue doesn’t linger long for the dawn is already working hard at dilution, so what follows next is a blue that I have to tell you is simply enchanting—its not cornflower blue (that’s a bit too bright) and its not royal blue (that’s a tad too dark)—I’ve struggled to know exactly what to name it. But I have consistently sensed it being a blue that gets inside you, or at least it consistently gets inside of me as I’m reading, and writing, and being.

But guess what? In some of that early morning reading I did last week, I came across a phrase that I believe captures the hue, and I don’t want to let the day get away without sharing it, because, well, you never know what with everything going on. I don’t want it to be lost.

The author’s name is Kate Braverman—this wild, frantic, language rich writer I’d not known of until last week. She was a novelist, short story writer, and poet. She died last fall. I was reading a quote of hers and this sentence surfaced: “The blue that knows you and where you live and it’s never going to forget.” And there it was, the name of that enchantment, the blue in which time, even if only for a handful of minutes, seems suspended, a held breath blue that gets inside you, or at least it consistently gets inside of me—the blue that knows you.  



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  1. Michael Easker on March 12, 2020 at 10:15 am

    I not only remember those old Bic pens but I searched the Internet to find them and succeeded, ordered about twenty, although I prefer black for Bic.

  2. Jacky on March 12, 2020 at 10:16 am

    Oh yes, Lord…Oh YES!

    Thank you John

  3. Jared Anderson on March 12, 2020 at 10:21 am

    Yeah. Just a strong yes to this trail. Thx for tending the field on this one

  4. Sally Bowen on March 12, 2020 at 10:47 am

    A “Blue” wonder. For the last week I have been watching a pair of Bluebirds building a nest in my backyard birdhouse. This is the first time they have overcome those pesky Sparrows, and are finally establishing a home. The first thing I do in the morning is look out see my Bluebirds, this is my “Blue” moment which brings me joy and happiness. Thanks, John

  5. Susan Awes on March 12, 2020 at 11:25 am

    I know that blue, but I did not know its name.

  6. Sherrey Meyer on March 12, 2020 at 11:40 am

    So thrilled to know the name for that blue, the one that knows me.

  7. Diana Trautwein on March 12, 2020 at 12:45 pm

    Lovely, John. And lovely, Kate. Thank you. Just what this socially distanced old woman with health compromises needed to read on day 4 of what will likely be 90 or more of staying put.

    • Marcia on March 12, 2020 at 3:16 pm

      Thank you, John. The blue that knows me VERY well is the ocean. We had the pleasure of spending some time together this week. My soul is fed.

  8. Beverly Hudson on March 12, 2020 at 3:15 pm

    Oh I KNOW THAT BLUE ! And it knows me ! I stare at it every early predawn morning in my sunrise room thru my beveled glass front door! Thank you John for this amazing post! See ya at Suppertime! Rev. 19:9
    Beverly in Texas

  9. Debi on March 12, 2020 at 4:09 pm

    I too have noticed the blue ‘that knows me’ this last week. I think the time change and the full moon changed the light imperceptibly at first, but is a possible explanation for a phenomenon. Put this with your other God is Blue post and you have the start of a blue movement in your writing!

  10. Jan mugele on March 12, 2020 at 5:45 pm

    I absolutely love this! As I do all your writings!!!

  11. Marilyn on March 12, 2020 at 5:54 pm

    I’ll never see or think of a Bic again without thinking of this post and what I heard in it.

  12. Rich on March 12, 2020 at 5:56 pm

    Always on point, John.

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