A Touch of Blue


photoJoy has a funny way of residing in our hearts: it’s never completely untouched by sorrow or the knowledge of trials and struggles. It requires a measure of trouble, in fact, for joy to exist. How else can we begin to know and appreciate the depth and breadth of true joy?

I was reminded of this today by one of my little hummingbird friends. They are frequently identified, these tiny flying powerhouses, as being most strongly attracted to red flora, to bright red and orange and sometimes yellow flowers. But they’re not that exclusive, really. They are aggressive and territorial and mercurial, all colors we tend to happily equate with so-called ‘hot’ colors, of course, but it hardly proves that red flowers are actually the best available attractants for hummingbirds.photo

The hummingbirds that hang around my back patio have other ideas. Not least of all, that their pleasure, and their urge to imbibe a grand zing of energy-booster, can come from what is presently their very favorite treat back there: the blue-blooming sage. It’s a hot color too, that it is; the blossoms on the lovely Salvia ‘Black and Blue’ practically scream for attention from amid the bold lime-green foliage of the plant, so nobody with a modicum of visual acuity, hummingbird or human or otherwise, is going to buzz by without giving it a good, longing look of admiration.

With what do we credit the boldest of blues? ‘Cool’, we call them. But just like the wildest, hottest of reds and yellows and oranges, intense blues are attention grabbers. They grip us by the heart just as easily as any other high-hued beauties. But the existence of both is necessary for us to understand the differences between them, and the power each has. Is ‘cool’ the metaphor for melancholy and The Blues a name for sorrow? Perhaps. Are red and those other ‘hot’ colors present in warming flames, in sunlight, in the brilliance of joy? Possibly.

Do all of them enrich our lives? Absolutely. Ask a hummingbird.photo


13 thoughts on “A Touch of Blue

    • If you have a place to plant it, you would love this Salvia–it’s one of the truly bluest flowers I’ve seen anywhere, and as a bonus, is a pretty tolerant and easy grower so far. I think it needs winter protection, but other than that is low maintenance for so much show. Oh! And just now, as I’m sitting here looking at it, an adorable tiny lizard just ran over to the pot. So clearly, it’s not just the hummingbirds and I who admire it! πŸ™‚

    • I’m expecting delivery any day of a couple of small feeders for the hummingbirds, too, so I hope they’ll enjoy yet another treat out here–they really are a thrill to watch.

    • Happy to share, dear Anyes! The photo of the birds themselves is actually from a trip to Panama a few years ago–mine here are always too skittish and speedy for me to capture in camera so far. But you would love the Panamanian birds. One of the loveliest aspects of an unexpectedly wonderful trip. One place we stayed, on the side of a mountain, had feeders nearly every two metres and they were constantly full of hummingbirds. Heavenly!

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