Day two. Logistics. Favorite animals (tigers, dogs, sharks . . .) Poetry.
Is blue my favorite color? A question from a student–kind of random–maybe they did notice the shoes yesterday. Or the blouse today. Is blue my favorite color?
That answer was confusing to the class. What does that mean: “Sometimes”? I wanted to quote Whitman: I contain multitudes. But that doesn’t really answer the question. What’s your favorite color? Blue? Purple? Green? I don’t know. It depends. Which blue? How do I feel? What is the occasion?
What I can say is that I tend towards to cooler side of the spectrum; I mostly favor blues, violets, purples, sometimes greens. I change my mind. Sometimes my favorite color is blue. Sometimes it’s violet or emerald or a particular shade of fuchsia-like pink. Lately, I’ve been wearing a lot of yellows and oranges (primarily in an attempt to not get run over by a car). And then there was the period around the Kavanaugh hearings this fall when I wore black pretty much every day for a solid month.
For today’s class, we read poems: “Fragmentary Blue” by Robert Frost, “Lapis Lazuli” by W. B. Yeats, “High Windows” by Philip Larkin. Blue in nature is exceedingly rare. As James Fox has written in Bonham magazine, “The color accounts for less than four per cent of plants, five per cent of flowers and eight per cent of fruits. And though there seem to be several blue-looking birds and fish out there, only two of the planet’s 64,000 vertebrate species possess genuine blue pigment.”
Fox’s essay uses Frost’s poem as an epigraph. Frost’s poem, and Larkin’s too for that matter, both point to the intangibility of blue–not the intangible nature of color, but blue as a representation of something else–the afterlife? Heaven? Or the broad expanse of sky that stands in for those concepts. . . All of this to say that blue is multiple and abstract and complicated when linked to concepts like the hereafter, whether we read a sacred or a secular connotation.
Ultimately, I think what we are after this month is a web of connections. I’m still trying to figure out whether this is an exercise in excavation or in creation. Or both (or neither).