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.