A MEDITATION ON TURQUOISE

Today I read this passage from nature writer Ellen Meloy in her book The Anthropology of Turquoise.  These words reminded me so much of a painting I created in 2009 inspired not of the desert sky of which she was speaking in her eloquent essay but by the sky and water intersection off the coast of Washington state.  Ellen’s writing is new for me, but just in the first essay of the book I feel an affinity to her perceptions and the language she uses to describe the spirit of the landscape.

…On the desert horizon at dusk, where red rock meet lapis sky, at the seam of the union, runs a band of turquoise, recumbent upon the land’s great darkness.  This color is transient.  Before night falls, blue-green is the last quantum of visible light to pass through the atmosphere without scattering.  It can draw a person right down to the skin of the world.  The tidal pull of light can shape an entire life. Every heart-warmed pulse of blood and breath.

This painting originally inspired by these words from Rilke, which also speak of transience.

It seems our own impermanence is concealed from us. The trees stand firm, the houses we live in are still there. We alone flow past it all, an exchange of air. Everything conspires to silence us, partly with shame, partly with unspeakable hope.

From the Second Duino Elegy

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