Dear Blue,

I note that you have been showing up more than usual in my life lately.

You are, in fact, a Presence.

I wonder if this all started with my renewed interest in Vincent van Gogh and The Starry Night. One would assume that the artist’s haloed stars are the magnetic pull here… but what would those glowing yellow orbs be without the contrast of your magnificent backdrop? Furthermore, I am aware that the painting’s recaptured allure coincided with my learning of the blue hour. I believe this is a concentrated effort on your part, that you meant to sweep me completely away with that poetic phrase and natural phenomenon. I cannot explain why, exactly, but I decided that blue is the color of forgiveness and wrote a poem. In it you are the star.

What really makes me stop and take note of your power, however, are the bluebirds. Bits of thrilling color electrifying the drab winter canvas of my backyard, just the jolt of color needed to sustain my flagging spirit. I am reminded that you are the rarest color in nature. This many sightings of bluebirds so close by is also rare; I do not recall seeing them at all in recent years. Perhaps I just wasn’t paying attention? Out of gratitude to you, I wrote another poem.

As if I needed more reminders, here’s the bookmark an intuitive friend gave me on Sunday:

Oh, to be cloaked with sky, to have wings for flying high and free above our blue planet…! You have stirred a deep and curious longing, now.

I feel I owe you an apology for not typically thinking of you as a favorite color. I now recall that my mother painted the walls of my childhood bedroom light blue, that there were curtains and a matching bedspread of gaudy floral patterns in many shades of blue, turquoise to navy… that brushing my long hair in the dark of a winter’s night set blue sparks popping…that Daddy owned only blue cars until I was in my teens… oh, and how I loved those cornflower and periwinkle crayons in my prized giant Crayon box with the sharpener.

—Periwinkle. Again you’ve appeared in this current dreary winter, the only spark of color in my forlorn flowerpots, a solitary little bloom on a vine. I am wondering now if you are also the color of hope and endurance. I suppose you remember the pet parakeet from years ago, snowy white, with a dusting of you on his wings? His name? Periwinkle, dubbed “Winkle-bird” by my firstborn. We were living two blocks from the beach, then. Warm sand, bright sun, frothy tide spilling over our bare feet, tiny periwinkle shells exposed like scattered gems in its wake…how I miss living near the sea!

How is it that I have forgotten until just now that my bridesmaids’ dresses, handmade by my mother, were a shade similar to periwinkle? “Oceania Blue,” if memory serves me right. Chosen for an August wedding, out of love for the shore where my young soon-to-be husband and I spent hours walking, dreaming, planning…and this sends me scrambling in search of a particular remnant, on the highest shelf in the cabinet.

—I still have it.

A bag of rice from my wedding, in those pre-birdseed days.

Tied with a blue ribbon for thirty-six years, come summer.

Dear Blue, precious, precious Blue. You’ve been here all along. You are now the eyes of my granddaughter.

Here is what I know:

You’re divine.


The annual Slice of Life Story Challenge with Two Writing Teachers is underway, meaning that I am posting every day in the month of March. This marks my fifth consecutive year and I’m experimenting with an abecedarian approach: On Day 2, I am writing around a word beginning with letter b.

And, because I can’t resist… here’s one of my all-time favorite Sesame Street videos: The Beetles singing “Letter B.” Dedicated to all you phonics teachers out there (pardon the “buh” pronunciation. We do know better…).

27 thoughts on “Blue

  1. We have another thing in common, our love of the color Blue. My bridesmaids wore blue. I did have birdseed and haven’t kept any of the bags, but they were tied with blue ribbon. I love how your rumination becomes like poetry on the page.

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  2. I stumbled across your site the other day and noticed we had a lot of commonalities. Probably the one that stands out the most is how we’re both reading specialists. It looks like I’m not alone in finding similarities with you as seen in margaretsmn’s comment. I do note one difference. Your word choice and use of imagery are strong qualities of your writing and mine does not have share these characteristics. I was in the snow with those bluebirds and wondering if they were visiting early because of global warming. I also watched the entire Lettter B video as a former phonics teacher and laughed while putting you in high esteem with your comment on the improper pronunciation of /buh/.

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    • I am so honored that you wrote to share these thoughts – it’s always a gift to find a kindred spirit! I am delighted that you watched the video and caught the pronunciation point; I could not in clear conscience let that slip by, as much as love this fun clip. Thank you 🙂


  3. I appreciated so much f this post, your rice packet tuck away, the bluebirds, your childhood bedroom, the starry night. I also appreciate the postscript- that tender Sesame Street moment. I might have to show it to the kinders tomorrow.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had fun tracing all those blue threads running through my life. The kinders will love the video; I’ve played it and “Monster in the Mirror” to K students who were having major meltdowns; it’s fascinating how the videos brought them a near-magical, instant calm.

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  4. Delightful to read! How amazing nature is and I do agree that blue is almost my favourite colour and it is rare in nature, I’ve especially noticed that with flowers….thank you for all your wonderful memories so poignantly captured in your words!

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  5. Ah. See? I shied away from blue as my favorite color because I had always felt that everyone else chose it as theirs. I wanted to give some other color (yellow, perhaps) a chance to be the loved one. And now, you’ve got me thinking. What if? What if I spent time loving on each and every color? Where would I find its creeping significance in my life? Oh, Fran. I think you may have started something!

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    • I felt truly guilty for not loving blue more, Lainie, after it’s been so good to me! I cannot wait to see what comes of you loving on each color-! Something astonishing, I have no doubt.


  6. You with blue, me with green…I just had a birthday spending spree buying nothing but green clothing from a favorite store online, in shades of emerald and sage. And I found flowers on my retreat; I’m sure my eye was drawn to them because of your periwinkle post. This idea of talking to a color is delightful; I may have to steal this one, Fran!

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  7. Fran, I love how you have written your slice in a letter to the color of blue; that technique/POV bring your words alive. Congratulations, on thirty-six years of marriage! Craig and I have three years to our thirtieth. Your words speak to me because blue has always been my favorite color; I love all shades of blue. A bluebird has always been my favorite bird because of the their vivid blue. I am happy for you that you are seeing a lot of them, now. I love your bookmark with Thoreau’s quotation, “The bluebird carries the sky on his back.” I haven’t heard of that quote from him before; I love reading Thoreau’s poetic descriptions of nature. Thank you for including that quote because I will write in my notebook of quotations.

    Speaking of poetic descriptions the following sentences especially resonated with me tonight:
    “Bits of thrilling color electrifying the drab winter canvas of my backyard, just the jolt of color needed to sustain my flagging spirit.”
    “Oh, to be cloaked with sky, to have wings for flying high and free above our blue planet…!”
    “that brushing my long hair in the dark of a winter’s night set blue sparks popping,”
    “Warm sand, bright sun, frothy tide spilling over our bare feet, tiny periwinkle shells exposed like scattered gems in its wake,” I miss doing this in the ocean, too! My youngest daughter and I collected many periwinkle shells to make earrings with; though we didn’t follow through with that. How fortunate your family was to live so close to the ocean.
    “Dear Blue, precious, precious Blue. You’ve been here all along. You are now the eyes of my granddaughter.” Wonderful! You also have blue eyes, right? My oldest daughter has bright blue eyes; I was thrilled when her eyes stayed blue. My eyes are light blue and my father’s eyes were gray. Thank you for sharing your gift.

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  8. What a delight to stop by and read your letter to blue. I love all of it from the ribbon on the rice bags, to the blue cars your daddy owned, to the bluebirds, to your blue room, but most of all, I love the blue of your granddaughter’s eyes and your concluding words to blue, you are divine. I think I could write a similar letter to yellow!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I would love to read your letter to yellow (sounds like a title for sure) if you write it, Ramona. Until the bluebirds this year, I never connected blue to hope and endurance, or to forgiveness, somehow, in The Starry Night. Deeply grateful for your thoughts.


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