Reach for the Sky

“There is one spectacle grander than the sea, that is the sky; there is one spectacle grander than the sky, that is the interior of the soul.”
Victor Hugo, Les Misérables


We look to the soaring blue of the heavens to experience a moment of respite, even imagining that we have wings to dance with the clouds. Traditionally worn by the Virgin Mary in Renaissance paintings, the colour blue has come to mean truth, wisdom, loyalty, peace, piety, spirituality and eternity.  Blue sets a high standard, resting serenely between violet and green on the visible spectrum, embracing the many shades and tints that come under its umbrella.

Blue dyes, exceedingly difficult to produce, were not used in art and decoration until long after the introduction of colours such as red, ochre, pink and purple.  The most primitive dyes came from plants, Woad and Indigo.  Europe relied on Woad, which became a staple in their dyeing industry.  Indigo from Asia and Africa, was supplied via India, believed to be the oldest centre of indigo dying in ancient times. Blue pigments come from the minerals Lapis Lazuli or Azurite.

Afghanistan was the mining and exporting power for Lapis Lazuli.  The exorbitant costs associated with caravan transport throughout the ancient world did not weaken demand, but it did prompt enterprising Egyptians to produce the first synthetic pigment, and change the dynamics of trade. “Egyptian Blue” combined silica, lime, copper and alkali, heating the mixture to 800 or 900 degrees. This was good news for the Egyptians who believed that blue protected them from evil. The Greeks chose Egyptian blue for the wall painting of Knossos. Romans, on the other hand, considered blue the colour of mourning and the symbol for barbarians.

From Pablo Picasso’s “Blue Period,” to the creation of “The Blues” music, to the discovery of blue jeans, our love affair with blue throughout the centuries has not diminished. We search the heavens and depths of our oceans to understand infinity.  Perhaps all we need to do it reach for it…

“The sky, I thought, is not so grand;
I ‘most could touch it with my hand!
And reaching up my hand to try,
I screamed to feel it touch the sky.”

Edna St. Vincent Millay, The Selected Poetry


Published by Rebecca Budd

Blogger, Visual Storyteller, Podcaster, Traveler and Life-long Learner

29 thoughts on “Reach for the Sky

  1. Beautiful, fresh and open photo of the day, I l ike it! T
    oday I celebrate blue together with red and white, it’s the National day in Norway , the country looks like an ocean in red-white-blue. Our shoes are all polished, the embroidered blouse for the national costume ist ironed, we all carry a flag and go into town to see and celebrate the childrens parade. Happy Birthday, Norway! 🙂
    All the best


    1. I am not surprised that your favourite colour is blue! Calm and serene, like your remarkable music. And speaking of music, Canada is celebrating Victoria Day this weekend. We are all heading off to the Highland Games on Victoria Island. There will be plenty of bagpipe music. 🙂 Have a great weekend!


    1. Thank you, Gallivanta! I just had to share one of my favourite quotes about bees:

      “Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don’t they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers.”
      ― Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine


      1. Thank you! I imagine that you are celebrating Queen Victoria’s birthday this weekend. We are out on Vancouver Island at the Highland games so I am in and out of wifi. Have a wonderful weekend!


      2. I am participating as a member of the crowd!!! 🙂 My son, Thomas is a bagpiper in the Irish Fusiliers so I will be following him around today. I love the sound of bagpipes in the outdoors. It will be interesting because we have rainy day!! But that doesn’t stop the bagpipers!!!!


  2. We all have our special and favorite colors. Some just fit a situation or project best. But I bet if you just asked a lot of folks and they had to answer without thinking (or being smarty…lol ) they would say blue is their favorite. At least that is the box I would check. 🙂


      1. Thanks back to you. Yes, I do feel better but still feeling a lot of anxiety. Meds can relieve one symptom and produce other things. I am not a hyper person but seem to be jumping at things now. Hard to concentrate.
        I appreciated your following on my other blog too. I had prepared all the April Poetry entries early in April so it was easy just to click them in. I know there is a way to pre time them to post when you want. But that would have been a nightmare. lol


      2. You have been missed! You are so right – Our bodies are finely tuned! I enjoyed your April posts and the individual lettering. Take good care of yourself. You will be in my thoughts!!!


  3. What an educational post. I enjoyed it so much and am so proud of your excellent and special posts every day. Loved it, my eyes were blue when I was young, not so much anymore.


    1. Me too! My favourite Psalm is 121 – I will look up until the hills. That is where the earth meets the sky and blue… Thank you so much for stopping by for a visit! 🙂


  4. I like it blue..

    I like Picasso’s Blue Period which has his best paintings (my own rating!).

    I like the blue ceramic tiles called Iznik tiles in the Blue Mosque in Istanbul.

    I also like the beautiful blue snowy mountains in Torres del Paine, Patagonian Chile.

    And I will never forget the beautiful blue domed churches in Santorini, a Greek island.

    Thank you, Rebecca. The color series is beautiful and Blue is beautiful!


    1. Thank you so much for the links! We are celebrating Queen Victoria’s birthday in Canada this weekend. We are over on Vancouver Island attending the Highland games so will be in and our of WIFI. Will be able to access the links when we are back on Monday. You are a wealth of information – thank you!!


  5. Great post Rebecca, Blue its always been my colour 🙂

    Really enjoying reading all your new post!

    I remember watching “the Girl with the pearl earring” and realising how much work an artist had to do in order to make their own colours before they even started work!


    1. I agree! I have a calendar that gives me one painting per day. “The Girl with the Pearl Earring came up about a week ago. Even a photo of that painting takes my breath away!! Thank you for your presence and comments! Much appreciated.


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