Sacre bleu

For many years, I have been moved by the blue at the far edge of what can be seen, that colour of horizons, of remote mountain ranges, of anything far away.  The colour of that distance is the colour of an emotion, the colour of solitude and of desire, the colour of there seen from here, the colour of where you are not.  And the colour of where you can never go.  For the blue is not in the place those miles away at the horizon, but in the atmospheric distance between you and the mountains. […] Blue is the colour of longing for the distances you never arrive in, for the blue world.
(Rebecca Solnit)

I have just entered sacre bleu into a French to English translator and it comes up with Damn it!  (My learning of French ended at the age of 14 having followed the adventures of the Marsaud famille in Longmans Audio Visual French)

It’s fascinating how sacred and blue, when put together, come out with something quite different.  Or is it?

In these two words we have an expression of how the sacred and holy can also be the ordinary and down-to-earth.

I find myself pondering more and more how the best way to refer to life is in terms of sacredness and holiness, beginning with how we see each other:

‘To engage in a reverential way is to maintain a sense of proportion and balance.  You acknowledge that there is a depth pf presence in every person that should never be reduced to satisfy your own selfishness and greed.’**

We don’t have to be religious to understand life in this way; indeed, those possibly free of religion can speak of this life in ways more rich and lively:

‘Must is both the journey and the destination, the upward journey of our lives that guides us toward that higher place, the oneness of all things, the ultimate source of Must.’^

We need the sacred blue.

Of course, from the perspective of another looking at us across a distance, we are enwrapped by the blue.  We just can’t see it ourselves.  The down-to-earth stuff we are right in the middle of is, at the same time, the sacred blue.

(*Rebecca Solnit, quoted in Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings: Two Hundred Years of Blue.)
(**From John O’Donohue’s Eternal Echoes.)
(^From Elle Luna’s The Crossroads of Should and Must.)


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