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A Study of Color


That which fills us with the greatest fear, which is molten, dangerously furious. Iron, copper, rust–clearly what we see when we look at Mars. God of War. Perhaps that’s what we should call destiny.


That which is long, as in wavelength: visible light. Wavelength is the speed of light divided by frequency (λ=c/f where λ=650nm). And beyond? Longer? Longer–we must think of heat. To the invisible, unvisible, beyond (infra-) visible.


He (or she) who is Native American–but–maybe that’s something we would rather forget. It is never so simple.


Caught in the act of stealing. The color of an error, found and marked.


Communist. Republican. (since the 2000 presidential election). Or maybe it’s all embarrassment, flushing the cheek, running rampant through a country. How young must we be when this hue is imprinted on our minds: bound to fear, anger, hatred. Something happens, some ancient connection made so our brain reaches back and back and back and back to the 12th century (in Latin). Maybe it’s because of blood. Mine and yours. And long ago having a very good reason to fear.


The vibrance in a blood cell. That which can, even in my imagination, make every drop of blood drain from my head.


The ruby, symbol of sun, prosperity, the most valuable being called Pigeon’s Blood. It lends energy and hardness second only to diamond. A memory of a ring my grandmother would wear, a gift to me before she died.


A ruby leads us to passion. Love. That which is full of life. Healthy. That which is rosy, flushed with thrill. Excitement. Joy.


The blush of an apple. The romance of a rose. Strong and virile. Luscious, passionate. And this reaction? From where does it come? Why such allure? Attraction to danger? A memory of a waiting lip? A twisted, hungry bloodlust?


The fox fish dog kangaroo mite and panda. Squirrel worm finch maple clover and wheat.


A fire hydrant. Extinguisher. Alarm. Truck. As though we would not recognize their purpose if they did not match. As though they must remind us of something. Of flames crackling in a fireplace, a bonfire on a cold night, or a forest dry to tinder lit with a spark razing the land.


A star that is cool. Almost cold. And dying of old age–on the verge of explosion (at least in the next few million years). And how cold? 3000 Kelvin. Our Sun? 5600 Kelvin. “warm color.” Cool temperature. But so it is with fire. I suppose it is too rare to see an azure flame. Blue is water, calms skies, that which comforts. Or this is a dwarf star. The most common in our neighborhood of the galaxy but so dim, putting out only 1/10 or 1/10000 as much light as our sun, the eye cannot see them. They burn slowly, living trillions of years. The universe is not yet old enough for them to have aged.


That which asks for trouble–tempting–taunting–the bull. The craze of a bloodshot eye. Desperate. You are about to do something terrible. In illness, madness, drunkenness, sadness.


That which stands out, proclaiming. Stop. Off. Exit. The words of God.


That which dresses the sinner. The Mary Magdalene. When the bride doesn’t dress in white and everyone looks away in shame. Unless you’re in China, India, Taiwan, Pakistan, Vietnam.


That which traces through the story. Hidden but never lost. Woven. The red thread.

Natalie Cunningham