If you focus on one thing among the many, a deeper connection ensues. It’s like a research paper. You lug an underarm tower of books from the library to scour the one thing. You become consumed by blue whales, for instance (not literally, one hopes) and along the way you learn about plankton.
And the blue in the ocean.
I visited the cathedral at Chartres, like a ship in a field. Its thousand-year-old windows sang wet and saturated songs of blue. An ancient melody of a clear conscience. Guilt-free. How did they get the blue up there high in the holy arches so close to Heaven? And how did the man-dominated church manage to commission this freedom, clarity and hope from the makers of that glass? What contract with the sun to illumine the labyrinth -- so cold, so hard and mysterious, crawled by hopeful, prayerful knees?
Blue became a thesis. French blue.
And so the research project that was really just a recognition, an attention-paying, a consciousness, tucked itself into the soft heart’s cortex.
Two years later and it’s the Van Gogh gallery at the Orsay. You know how it goes. You are being attentive to the Degas ballet bronze. The train station converted to a creamy dreamy galley-dome. The special exhibit of smoke rising like alive ribbons. The wall-size clock window framing the distant Sacré-Cœur on the Montmartre butte (embraced by a blue sky), a white counter-point to the Orsay’s arc. You are beyond emotion already, in a state of above, of afloat. You walk into the room of Van Goghs, which is just a white cube with two doorways like so many museum rooms. White sand. Or wheat. And there is the water of blue that has lapped itself in your psyche like an unstoppable tide that comes back over and over to your shore.
Only around and around.
Guilt, or bitterness, runs out to another room where a color like Delacroix red turns it into desire.
How does color tell our hearts what to feel?
If you pay attention to one thing on your way through the many, your heart will connect. (This can be beautifully pleasant, and also painfully difficult, depending on the point of focus.)
Hand-stitched wool crewel blue peacocks on my Indian bag.