Blogging color, dreaming blogs

Some of the bloggists I read regularly have been writing about color in pretty striking ways. In a post last Friday – complete with a full-color sketch – Blaugustine described a man and his sons who boarded her car on the London subway:

To say that they were black says nothing. Their skin was African midnight blueblack, the colour of a starry desert sky and polished as the stones in a clear stream. There was not a hair on their heads or brows. Their smooth hairlessness and the extraordinary intensity and innocence of their eyes made them seem like beings from another planet. The man was dressed in a light-coloured tracksuit but the boys, under their black casual jackets, wore formal white shirts and white trousers. My sketch from memory does not do them justice. If I had brought my camera I would have asked permission to photograph them. Sometimes life generously offers you a brief encounter with absolute beauty to remind you that all is not lost and ugliness can never entirely take over the world.

On Tuesday, Fragments from Floyd reported on an encounter with unexpected, otherworldly beauty even closer to home:

A rounded mound that the rake could not clear away proved to be a flat rock under the leaves, thrown beside the shed for no good reason. I harrumphed as I bent over carefully to prize it up on end to lift and toss it to some other pointless place out of the way. And out of that mundane chore of autumn, in this world of orange and ochre, in that cool, safe space under the flat roof of rock where it would have spent its anonymous days fattening on spiders before winter, a newly-hatched Smooth Green Snake lay coiled in an emerald knot.

This time, there is a photo. The green snake against the autumn leaves looks every bit as stunning as Fred says it was.

At Vernacular Body yesterday, I was charmed by

the sight of a pile of yellow leaves on the sidewalk. They are suddenly carried on a gust: it is a precise and unified motion, exactly like that of a school of fish.

And at Ditch the Raft, Andi is in northern India, on the first leg of a Buddhist pilgrimage with her father. Along with vivid descriptions of the people, the temples, the filth and squalor of the cities and the experience of being stared at everywhere she goes – and of learning to return that stare – she writes:

I’ve never seen such colors. The Rajasthani women wear lime greens, pine greens, saffron and tangerine oranges, lemon yellows and tumeric yellows, pomegranate and blood reds–and these colors mixed in with the incredible array of saris makes my eyes swim. I feel drunk on the color: it’s edible, tangible, colors I could walk on. If the colors in Malaysia were like wings, this is like flocks, waves, oceans of color.

In her latest post, she describes a visit to the cloth market at Udaipur:

Sometimes mirrors are sewn in, sometimes sequins, giving the cloth an extra glitter. On the really fine stuff, gold and silver thread is worked in. But what catches me again and again is the unmitigated sensuality of the cloth and the clothing. Colors to make poets die–they cannot be written–and live again–hope springs eternal. Colors to make women want to be beautiful or to feel beautiful, or at least this woman. You start imagining your home decked out in these colors. A room for reds, a room for blues, a room for greens, and a room for whites. Who knew white came in a rainbow of shades, hues, subtleties? A creamy white cotton relaxes next to the sharp shiny silk white; a matte hand-woven white envelopes where a filmy woolen white pulls one along like a breeze.

This is travel blogging at its best. Who needs photos?


Reading blogs before bed may or may not be a good idea. In my last dream before waking, I had been invited to a costume party at Elck’s flat in New York City, which he jokingly refers to as Long Hall. It was enormous. We sat awkwardly across from each other on overstuffed, Victorian chairs, Elck and I, and realized we had absolutely nothing to say to one another, having long ago exhausted our eloquence in our blogs. Then other people began flowing in. They were all wearing gorgeous saris and matching headscarves, even the men.

Suddenly, I realized I was similarly outfitted, Lord knows how. The six meters of cloth were striking, Andi, but they were suffocating! I stripped back down to my usual jeans and quilted plaid shirt.

Before I knew it, however, I was wrapped in a sari again! How was this happening? Clearly, someone must be slipping something into my drink – or else those two wily magicians Elck wrote about the other day were hiding somewhere about and using me for an impromptu demonstration of their powers. For the second time, I divested myself of the exotic cloth, folded it and placed it on the chair. My usual cocktail party paranoia set in. Why was nobody talking to me? Were they really all snickering at me, or was it just my imagination?

Well, you know how these kinds of insecurity dreams go: once you get into an imaginative rut, it’s hard to change course. The third time, I found myself outfitted in a heavy, gray monk’s habit. In addition, they had strapped one of those backpacks for carrying small children on my back. What did this mean? I had no idea. But I knew this much: they weren’t going to get away with it!

I tore off the backpack and the habit and carried them into an empty storeroom. There was only one thing to do, I realized as I stood there listening to the clinking of wineglasses, high-pitched laughter and fragments of witty repartee. I would take off all my clothes! That’ll teach ’em to make fun of the hillbilly!

I remembered the last time I had been naked at a party, a late-night affair with a backyard hot tub on a quiet back street in Tyrone. Everyone else was naked, so I figured it was cool. Only months later did someone leak the truth: they’d all been staring at me! No one had seen that much body hair on a human being before, my friend Chris informed me. “We weren’t making fun of you!” he assured me. “We were just, you know, amazed! I mean, you even have hair on your butt!

So fifteen people – including one fairly attractive, hetero female and a couple bisexuals – had been staring at my naked butt. Great.

But that was years ago – long before I discovered blogging. Now, after ten months on the Via Negativa, I said to myself, being naked at a costume party seems pretty much par for the course. I can do this!

Unfortunately for the sake of this retelling, that’s when I woke up. So I guess you’ll have to supply your own endings. And I’m afraid that, since I have put the image of my hairy, naked body unbidden into your heads, your dreams too may take a disturbing turn, like a pile of yellow leaves on the sidewalk. They are suddenly carried on a gust . . .

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