SAUCIER — One in a million


Our granddaughter looked up from her artwork and asked, “Grandpa, what is your favorite color?”

“Blue,” I answered, as I always had since a kid.

She registered the information and went back to her masterpiece. I didn’t give it another thought, until I did.

Working in the yard, I noticed the striking colors. There was a tide of deep crimson flowing from the dianthus and the poppies offered a bushel of orange.

There were pinks, yellows, greens and whites.

I remembered my granddaughter’s question and was suddenly ashamed of my lack of imagination. Maybe, like most people, my favorite color is blue, but what kind of blue? Was it steel, teal or turquoise?

The average human eye has three cones, each detecting 100 colors. Together, they can see 1 million tints, shades and hues.

One million unique expressions of light, and all I could say was “Blue.”

The universe is colorful to its core. Even the six flavors of quarks that make up the protons and neutrons in the atom dress in a quantum outfit of red, green and blue.

Nature’s colors are there for many reasons. The red of the mandrill monkey is not just a distinguishing mark but a color of consequence in mating.

In certain tree frogs, that red is anything but an invitation. It is a warning to predators that its bright skin is toxic to a degree far beyond its diminutive size.

The shell of the polymorphic Cuban painted snail is a slow-moving display of colors and swirls, all dependent on its diet.

The sky has countless shades of blue. But when the sun sets and the elongated atmosphere filters out the blue, then the reds, golds and oranges burst into flame like the fireworks of Pentecost.

The seven colors of the rainbow have not lost their magic. And when the solar winds send charged particles of the sun to collide with atmospheric gas, the discharged protons engage in a divine chromatic dance we call the Aurora borealis.

We should be thankful our world is not black and white and remember, that contrary to a certain title, there are over 250 shades of gray.

Our world is awash in color which, according to the Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky, “is a means of directly influencing the soul.” 

We should let it. 

We ask if someone dreams in color. Maybe the question should be, do we pray in color? It’s a language the Master of the Palette clearly understands.