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From San Diego we returned to the desert for a few days before heading for LA to visit with Debbie's brother and his wife...though we didn't see much of her because of "family concerns."  We arrived on the evening of the opening of the 2008 Olympic Games.  It was a colorful production.

On Saturday we walked a couple of blocks to LACMA (the Los Angeles County Museum of Art), which shares a park with the LA Brea Tar Pits (coming up later).  We saw The Age of Imagination, which was closing the day we saw it.  Here is some of it for you.  Photography was not allowed.

The colors were mostly so subtle, while at the same time being so exquisitely laid down.  It am astounded that these paintings were all painted in only one layer.

On Sunday we went to the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach.

Ooooooh!  Ahhhhhh!  The colors.

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The word dates from around 1225, from the Old French colur, which came from the Latin  color (acc: colorem) "color, hue," from the Old Latin colos, originally "a covering" (akin to celare "to hide, conceal"), from the proto-Indo-European base *kel- "to cover, conceal" (see cell). Old English words for "color" were hiw, bleo. The verb is from around 1300, though the earliest use was figurative.  Colorful meaning "interesting" is from 1889.  Color-blind was first recorded in 1844.  Colors were used to mean "flag of a regiment or ship" beginning around 1590.  Colored in reference to "non-white skin" dates from 1611.  Coloring book is from 1931.

--rephrased from the Online Etymology Dictionary

For much of my adult life I haven't seen colors properly.  At least I don't think so.  One eye has cast everything with a greenish tint.  The other rendered a world bathed in brown.  Since I have blue eyes, this has always puzzled me.  I also attributed the migraines I used to get to that difference.  But they went away when I changed my hormone of choice.

My world was also mentally a cobweb of grays.

It was a gray world, full of gray people living gray lives.

--from the 1960s Bob Newhart Show

The photo directly above is of one of the exhibits...above the water.  Below it was a different place, filled with wonder.  The colors of corals and anemones, sea "vegetables" and vegetation, crustaceans, fish and other creatures bearing the colors only nature could imagine to use.

I do admit, however, that some of the color was artificially enhanced, like the coral to the left.  The color was chosen for the benefit of the shark's egg pouches, which you can make out above suspended above the coral.  They will show up again in a later piece.

I am less knowledgeable about fish than I am about mammals and birds.  Maybe that's a human thing...or maybe it is just me.  I get too enthralled in the wonders to worry about the names of too many of the various creatures.  Mostly I stopped and stared.  And if I was quick, I got a good photo.  Some are less than ideal because I was using a flash camera...until it occurred to me to use my iPhone instead.  It was both quicker and didn't have the reflection problem the flash camera did.

So let's do eight photos while I try to come up with some more words:

In the mid-to-late 90s I learned I had cataracts in both eyes, that my vision was going the way of my grandmother's.  My first reaction was to turn to creating art, which I had been forced to turn away from in my teen favor of sports.  I sought to add color to a life that had taken little interest in it.

In fits and starts my vision has improved a little through surgical intervention and then taken a turn for the worse.  An interocular lens was implanted in my left eye before I left Arkansas.  It was less than perfectly positioned.  I've had a corona(?) which appears in the upper left quadrant around every light I see ever since, which is mostly bothersome at night.  So I refrained from having the same surgery on my right eye as long as I could.

One of the things they did not inform me about when I had that first surgery was that the likelihood of me suffering a detached retina in that eye had increased monumentally.  I suffered one during Christmas break of 2000-2001, after I had left Arkansas and landed in Jersey.  I did not have a full-time position then, working as an adjunct at Montclair State and Bloomfield.  Of course, that meant I had no insurance.  I have never completely recovered financially from the combination of the relocation and the eye surgery.

And I have never regained anything approximating adequate vision in that eye.  Horizontal no longer exists through my left eye.  But I have regained the ability to see colors.  And maybe that is enough.

Maybe it's time for eight more photos. :-)

At least I had my right eye for seeing, right?  Well, that didn't work out so well either.  Remember that it also had a cataract.  I gradually lost sight from that eye as well, until I had another lens implant.  It stopped the deterioration, but there are other problems in that eye.  I have all sorts of floaters in there.  In reality it is now the case that my bad eye is the better one.  Isn't that just dandy?

The one saving grace in all this is that what I can see best is something that is back lit, like a computer screen.  I may have to choose a smaller resolution setting and larger type, but I am not blind.


And the rate of visual deterioration for other purposes, like being able to read a class roster or a text book, is slow enough so that I should be able to make it to if that will ever happen.

And I can hope that advances in technology will be sufficiently bold to help me out in the declining years of my eyesight.


Colors.  ROYGBIV.  Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.  They all exist in the last six photos.  Colors co-mingled.

And if nature gets it, why can't we?

Skin Tones by Eric Escobar

(Here's an alternate link if the link to the graphic goes down).

Originally posted to Robyn's Perch on Tue Mar 02, 2010 at 05:50 PM PST.

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