The lovely blue

June 25, 2010

Considering what a drastic effect my One Elephant book Shelley’s Cloud had on the weather the weekend I made it in March, and the equally inevitable result of the reckless Bank Holiday Clouds, I felt it my duty as a good citizen to make The Lovely Blue – hence this unprecedented sunshine for Glastonbury. If you’re going to make a spell for a heatwave, you might as well make it a good long one, so it’s double-sided, and 12 pages instead of the usual 6; I’ll show it page by page as usual.

In unending beauty the blue sky spans the earth.

It is as if this blue were fathomless,

as if its very depth were palpable.

The variety of its tints is infinite;

it changes from day to day, from one part of the sky to another.

What can be the cause of this wonderful blue?

What are these particles of matter that scatter light in the atmosphere?

In the summer after long drought the air is filled with dust and the sky seems less blue and more whitish.

But after a few heavy showers, the air becomes clear and transparent, the sky a deep and saturated blue.

Whenever high cirrus clouds appear filling the air with ice crystals the lovely blue disappears and changes into a much whiter colour.

Therefore it can be neither the dust not the particles of water and ice that cause the scattering that colours the heavenly vault.

The only possibility is that the molecules of air themselves scatter the light, causing a brightness many miles deep with a decided preference for the violet and blue rays.

Text by M. Minnaert, from Light and Colour in the Open Air

The sheet of paper before tearing and folding looked like this:

And like this when folded:

Let’s hope it lasts; the only bit that worries me is page 9.

3 Responses to “The lovely blue”


  1. Congratulations, Liz – I think we can now safely say that it worked. Thanks, F. (on behalf of a grateful nation)…

    P.S. Nice piece of work, too.


  2. […] we’re still enjoying the effects of The lovely blue, I thought a cool dip into the river would be appropriate. River names is another double-sided […]


  3. […] of my favourite books, M. Minnaert’s Light and Colour in the Open Air, and like the text in The lovely blue, it’s characteristically brimming with an infectious enthusiasm for the delights of nature, […]


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