Blue or Purple? That is the question. When I sat down to write my poem inspired by indigo, I didn’t know where to start. Looking at a rainbow, can you clearly pull out the color indigo like you can red or green? I can’t even go to a Crayola crayon box to find the color unless I happen to own a 24 count box (or higher). Indigo had me flummoxed.
My wife found some interesting articles about indigo online, especially related to its darker history as a cash crop, but that’s not where I wanted to go. I had pieced together the first two stanzas, but didn’t know where the poem was heading. It felt far from complete.
Then I came across an article today by Baruch and Judy Taubes Sterman titled The Great Tekhelet Debate — Blue or Purple? It’s a fascinating quick-read from the perspective of ancient Israelites. As the article states, “TEKHELET [indigo] was God’s chosen color.” God’s chosen color. That changed everything. Rather than pine for the clarity of the more recognizable colors of the rainbow, I was enamored by the rich depth of this seemingly ambivalent color.
For me, it’s not about defining the proper ratio of blue to purple (one source suggests indigo is three parts blue, one part purple), or even clearly settling the exact tint of indigo. No. For me it’s a reminder of God’s divine fingerprint on each unique life and the thread that links deep unto deep – our heart to our Father’s.
Vincent H. Anastasi - 2021 I am indigo, that enigmatic hue confounding classification, ousted by brown and black from the classic Crayola eight pack in a quiet color coup. Ambiguously more blue than violet, yet uniquely my own, I boast a Latinate lineage - indigofera tinctoria: tint of intuition, rainbow's sixth strand Isaac Newton approved. Seemingly superfluous, my scarcity inextricably links me with power and wealth, and all white dims without my cooling presence. Sometimes, however, I wish I knew red's love and passion or orange's warm flame, the cautious wisdom of yellow or green's teeming prosperity. Mark me with blue's tranquility or violet's royal benison rather than linger in limbo between purple and blue. Yet I will not blush nor be ashamed, being God's chosen color. Tie me like that one string to the corner fringes of life's rich garment, memorial thread resembling the sea and heavens linked to God's holy throne. Transform me in the sun's ultraviolet rays until the unseen's seen and the drapes of this temple and the clothes of this high priest are dyed the color of sky darkening toward evening in the effulgent mystery of life.