Sunday, June 11, 2006

Black Again

Why is it when I look up black on the internet, I get involved in tangents that have nothing to do with the color?
I am resisting this time, but found several wonderful sites that I could have explored for hours.

Black is the absence of all color. I knew that from a science class probably as far back as elementary school. So is black a "non-color"?

Black can lend elegance and sophistication to a room or an outfit. Or it can easily overwhelm and look cheap, depressing, or lend an air of restriction. In other words, in a room, black shrinks the visual size of the space.

Black represents death and mourning. In churches, black is used only before the Easter Vigil, with no other decorations or colors. Makes me think of the absence of all hope. Thank God for Resurrection Day!

In our language, black can emphasize good or bad. Black tie means wear your best to a formal party. Black belt means an expert, especially in martial arts. But blackmail is getting something by threat. A black sheep is a disgrace to the family.

Black, set next to other colors, clarifies the quality of the second color. Yellow pops out at you. The brightness of red is emphasized. Green vibrates.

So what can we take-away from this observation of the "non-color"? I see a thread of perception running through the commentary on black. By itself, black is neither good nor bad. A nonenity. But as a contrasting element, it enhances. Used in great quantity, it overwhelms.

Black is useful in helping us see beauty. But black was never meant to be the way of life.

How much I enjoy the sight of the mountains when for days I have dwelt in the caves.

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