I have a blue day every time I clean house, and it starts with the bathroom.
A glass shelf over the commode contains miniature perfume bottles, a collection that began with a gift from Toni Giovanni, an exotically beautiful woman who lived down the block from my childhood home in Chicago. My favorite bottle is a semi-transparent, cobalt-colored rectangle that stands not quite two inches tall. Vertical lines accentuate all four sides, while the cap and base are a pale gold metal with matching indentations.
In the master bedroom I take time from dusting to open a wooden jewelry box that once graced my mom's dresser. An aquamarine pendant, an antique from Germany, glows softly next to the splashier turquoise rings and necklaces Mom loved to wear.
Polishing the piano brings to mind years of lessons as well as the impromptu recitals I gave for my family. One of the most requested songs was the tune Five Foot Two Eyes of Blue, a rollicking ragtime piece that always sent Grandma's foot tapping. The sheet music almost danced against the music stand.
As I put away the laundry, my husband teases me that I haven't bought a navy trouser suit in more than a year. My dad wore navy-colored uniforms to work every day for more than 30 years, and my closet contains twice as many dark-blue business suits than any other color. Mom always said my love for dark blue shades began when I received my first box of Crayolas. While most of my classmates used their colored sticks to create artwork, I preferred looking for exotic names such as Midnight Blue and Indigo.
Blue uniforms have even more significance for my husband, a former infantry officer. Marcelo sounds off "Hua!" whenever he sees something light blue, the color the U.S. Army selected to symbolize this branch of the military.
I am fortunate that my blue mood follows me outside of our home.
When Marcelo and I lived on the Gulf Coast, we often sidestepped the formal dining area, choosing instead a sunny breakfast room, whose five southern windows faced the hydrangea's periwinkle blossoms as well as three dozen blueberry bushes. In June when the berries were at their peak, Marcelo and I would take a baguette of French bread, a sampling of goat cheeses and a bottle of wine, spreading our impromptu picnic in the shade of the seven-foot bushes. When the crop was ready, we harvested the fruit not only for pies and snacking but to crush in our press for blueberry wine.
My husband's mother and maternal grandmother say they also receive inspiration from the color blue. Maybe it brings to mind the azul skies and cerulean waves of their native Mexico. When my husband and I come home for a family dinner, Josefina, my mother in law, and Abuelita Queta, her mother, reach into the china cabinet for their cobalt-colored glass plates, a sure sign that we are celebrating a special day.
Even the cats in our lives think it's cool to be blue. When looking for the perfect name for a long-haired Himalayan with smoky blue fur, the family selected "Safir," the Spanish word for "sapphire." Our oldest catly daughter, Hannah, is a playful charmer with eyes that shade from mint green to aquamarine as she waits for a pair of bluebirds to swoop closer to a nose pressed in vain against the French doors.
And where would our country's flag be without the blue background to hold together our 50 stars? I first learned to love Old Glory while helping my dad place her pole gently in the bracket affixed to a column of our crisply painted front porch. Seeing Dad's face as he watched the colors ripple in the Memorial Day breeze, I began to understand the deeper meanings of life.
From a blue moon to a true-blue friend, I feel richer than someone with a blue-blooded heritage when I see this noble color. Mother Nature, I salute you.
What colors inspire you and why?
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