Blue Light Special

When I first started college, before I decided to become a wildlife biologist, I was an art major. Science and the arts (including music and writing) were always competing for first place in my heart, at least until I realized I didn’t have to choose between these two loves.

Now that I no longer think of my interest in words and colors and sounds as a distraction, I’ve come to recognize that my eyes are tuned in to subtleties in the quality and spectrum of light that not everyone appreciates. Maybe they don’t notice, or perhaps their eyes are tuned in to stations I can’t pick up.

Winter has a signature wavelength, as do the other seasons, of course. December is the year’s blue period, and it’s never easier to see the sky snuggled up close to the land than after a snow.A long time ago, I read somewhere that the human eye can perceive more shades of blue than any other hue. I don’t know if this is true but I do love noticing the variations of sapphire, denim, indigo, ultramarine, and slate stretched out beneath a tree, or huddled beneath a stone overhang.
Once the cloud clear and the temperatures warm up, beautiful topographies form as the snow blanket settles and conforms to the contours of the land beneath.Light and shadow and texture add to the diversity of blue notes, creating a tune that’s perceptible only to the eyes, not the ears.

On a sunny, sparkling, snowy day, there’s nothing sad about having the blues.

[Thanks to the following photographers for making their work available through the Creative Commons license: Jussi-Teppo Toivonen, Ed Suominen, Doruk SikmanCindy ZackowitzPhil Roeder, Jussi-Teppo Toivonen, Marilylle Soveran, Evelyn Berg, and Larry Lamsa© 2017 Sidewalk Zendo. Reprints welcomed with written permission from the author.]

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