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Life as colour…

Into the blue

This is a short piece written as the second installment of a literary challenge to tell a story through a colour. It was to write a brief story about a time in your life.

BLUE. Blue is pervasive. I like blue. Not any old blue. More the lighter shades and the deeper teal-blues.

Blue. It’s the colour of the sea. The colour of the sky. The colour of the inside walls in my house. The colour, in a deeper, dustier hue, of the outside walls. It is the colour of the Tshirt I wear. The colour of the walls of the apartment I had in Sydney. The colour of my eyes. It is the blue of the mountains seen from a distance that mentally transports me from where I stand as I wonder what is up there. Who lives there? Does anyone live up there?

The sea. Other than when I was a child, other than when I lived in the inner city of the metropolis, other than when living in a small city on a river, I have lived by the sea. My partner is a sea-dweller too, a habitué of the blue water with its white lines of crashing surf down Cronulla way.

The restlessness of the blue sea draw me. The swells sweep in from the Southern Ocean as long undulations and rise to a peak before spilling into a cascade of churning white water. Yesterday, they were a pale blue but sometimes they are a rich turquoise, the hue in which blue reaches its fullness. Sometimes they are a sombre greyish blue reflecting a stormy sky.

It was not the blue of the sea that drew me a few decades ago. It was the blue of the mountains, their distant crags tinged with the blue of eucalyptus oil rising from the forests below on wafts of warm air. I would sit atop some peak and look at the ridges blending into a distant horizon, their tones an olive green nearby that faded through lighter and lighter tones of blue until those on the horizon were barely distinguishable from the sky. I would stand looking, trying to discern where mountian ridge ended and sky began. It could be hard to see where that happened.

Half a lifetime ago I sat taking a break on the steep climb to Mt Anne. At first, my companions and I named all those peaks that were known to us. There were many that were not. Then we fell silent and just sat there, looking over the gradation of blues that marked the ridges’ growing distances from each other and from us. It was a moment of shared solitude under the blue sky of the mountains.

Once, I sat below the crag of Mt Scorpio in Tasmania’s remote Western Arthur Range and looked out onto those fading blue tones of ridge after unknown ridge receding to a horizon whose edge was lost in the palest of blue mists where land met sky. There, in the quietness of the high mountains where it is never completely quiet my mind seemed to blend with the landscape to produce a sense of oceanic oneness. If that mental state has a colour, it surely must be blue.

Now, far from my coastal apartment in Sydney, the colours are the pastels of colder climates. They are richer colours, undiluted by the air of warm places. I look out the window and there, below a sky of the palest blue banded by a strip of dense grey cloud, the waters of the bay reflect the sky to contrast to the bluey-grey of the distant shore. This is home.



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Russ Grayson

I'm an independent online and photojournalist living on the Tasmanian coast after nine months on the road in a minivan.