The Blue Unknown

Found: on a monochrome-gray January day
Found: on a monochrome-gray January day

Because January, if you don’t count white and gray, is the Monochrome Month, any hint of color can be almost painful by its contrast.

A few deep pink coralberries cling to wizened sprigs along the creek. Smooth stones under the ripples of Goose or Nameless Creek draw far more attention today for their amber and ruby and gold–a feature that, on a summer day awash with color, would draw no particular admiration. Beyond that–and an occasional painfully-blue sky–January’s pallette has little to offer the eye.

So  looking down to find this ice-blue fragment at the edge of the creek was to be startled by mere color. The question for you is: what is it?

I brought it back to the house and photographed it resting on one of Ann’s locust-root gargoyles that adorn the landscaping out back. Largest dimension is maybe an inch and three quarters.

I think I might know its source. But I thought if others might reach the same conclusion. So take a guess. Or tell us for sure.

SUGGESTED COMPANION TOPIC: Winter Walk–a retold prose poem that speaks of the monochrome of winter, and suggests that, since smells also disappear from the winter landscape, there should be a word like monochrome for the winter aromasphere.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Is this glass? From the picture, it looks exactly like the glass from some of my collection of old glass electric insulators. One has a large chunk missing. Did you find my missing piece?

  2. I’d say the same -piece of an old broken insulator. And you’re right about finding colour in January. I’ve been looking, but it’s all grey to brown or stark white. I can’t even find interesting ice formations, ’cause all the creeks are frozen and snow-covered.

  3. Well, the volume of responses (not surprisingly) was low, but the hit rate was high. Yes Barbara and FurryG, you’re thinking what I’m thinking. I may say more about this soon, but there were NOT many electrical insulators down this way, so this was a rare find.

    Take a look here for more glass insulators:

  4. I enjoyed re-reading your essay about winter, and noted that I read it for the firrst time in 2010, according to a comment I left. At my age, I have no recollection of that!