161 – White

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I like to walk on the beach. It is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

Today I’m thinking about white. I got the feeling the topic may overwhelm me and my thoughts.

The water here is emerald green. But like the waves in the blue waters, white appears when the waves break and then eventually washes across my feet. I see white in the wave foam, seagulls, sanderlings, seashells, and streaky and puffy clouds.

Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

Many people consider this beach to be white. Compared to other beaches, they may be right – but the color is more of light cream. Whitish sands are typically high in tiny bits of seashells and certain minerals.

I know white is the color of milk, salt, flour, sugar, coconut, marshmallow, numerous dairy products, chalk, onions, styrofoam, rice, beluga whales, albinos, and much more.

I know white is the color of traditional wedding dresses, symbolic doves, and the limestone faces of the White Cliffs of Dover. Depending on the culture, white may be the color for cleanliness, purity, sacrifice, perfection, simplicity, peace, neutrality, a fresh start, and even mourning.

I know white is the color of chef hats, aprons, lab coats, togas, karate jackets, and tablecloths at classy restaurants and banquets. White is also the color of ghosts and white horses in dreams.

I know white is the common color for appliances, toilets, sinks, golf balls, baking powder, and baking soda. White is also the color of dandelion seeds, many flowers, cauliflower, polar bears, swans, arctic foxes, skunk stripes, pearls, a bald eagle’s feathered head, and bird poop.

Photo by Jessica Lewis Creative on Pexels.com

I know white is a typical background for many signs and print paper to easily contrast lettering and images – the color of light bulbs, flickering stars, and the light marking the end of the tunnel.

I know white is the color of summer because its reflective property helps keep us cool. That explains why I see many homes here with white roofs, which is something I seldom see in my northern home. I also recall the past when competitive tennis players only wore white.

I know white is the color of falling snow that provides a beautiful temporary coating on trees and the land. I think snow-capped mountain tops add to their majestic value. It’s interesting how snow gathers and becomes glacial ice displaying a brilliant blue hue.

I know white buildings of white marble are elegant, and that reminds me of the pieces of white marble I saw on an Italian beach near Carrara. Thinking of buildings reminds me that some offices use white noise to minimize sounds, but their walls are a shade of white leaning toward brown, gray, blue, or other colors.

I know white is the unseen color of light entering a prism, but the same light exits the prism as the visible colors of a rainbow. ROY G BIV enjoys working himself into these essays. We see white when a color wheel spins fast. We see white objects not because they absorb white or all colors, but because white objects reflect all colors to our eyes.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I know white is the color of cleanliness with a white glove test. We also rely on bleach’s whitening power, whitening agents in detergents, and ingredients to whiten our teeth – but not all of us have pearly whites.

I know some people dream of a white Christmas, which is also a time for white elephant gifts, but I wonder: Why Snow White has black hair?

I know a woman in a white dress can be a beautiful and elegant sight – but she may be waiting on her white knight.

I know people trusted Betty White, so she could tell a little white lie. I still believe that most Americans want the occupant of the White House to wear a white hat.

I know we of a certain age grew up with black and white televisions that gave way to brilliant colors, but photographers continue to use black and white to touch our souls.

I know some of us read white papers, buy at white sales, and may even be a white-knuckled flier – but hopefully not be considered white trash. American history teaches not to fire until seeing the whites of their eyes, so beware of turning as white as a ghost.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I know white is a common color on many flags, including surrender and truce, but in NASCAR races, the white flag designates the race’s final lap. I also know there are many more white phrases, but I worry about the men in white coats coming to take me away ho-ho he-he ha-ha to the funny farm! Do you remember that song?

The bottom line is that I still don’t know what to write about white because there is so much to say. Any ideas? Meanwhile, I need another walk to think about this because I like walking on the beach. It is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

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97 thoughts on “161 – White”

  1. I don’t think you missed a thing on white Frank.
    you can see I’m dreaming of marble. Debating on white carrara marble and pasta as I head to bed..
    ” white marble are elegant, and that reminds me of the pieces of white marble I saw on an Italian beach near Carrara.”

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I had thought or remembered from color theory class that white isn’t an actual color, it reflects all colors, and black results from absorbing all colors.
      I loved this post, Frank. It really drew me in, especially since I just wrote about Contrast in regards to text on images! Ha!
      Oh, and I do remember that song! Take me away! LOL

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Shelia,
        You are correct … white is not a spectral color – but in our world, we consider it a color – and yes – it reflects all colors back to our eyes. Interestingly, if we see something as white, do all living things also see it as white? I don’t know – but I sense not. Thanks for walking along and glad you enjoyed the closing song.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Hello Frank, like Cindy mentioned before me, you pretty much covered White very well…you white-washed it maybe? Just an interesting fact about Polar Bears though, their fur is actually transparent and not white! The hair is hollow and just reflects the surrounding snow and ice’s colour. Their skin is also black which helps the bear to absorb heat from the sun just like a solar panel. Nature is so confusing sometimes….

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Hi again, at school I had a fantastic Science teacher and I learnt a lot from him – I then studied Performing Arts at college and during a lecture on Stage lighting our tutor asked us to identify the colour of different objects and the Polar Bear name came up. I surprised my tutor at knowing this factoid!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Jo,
      Seems a comment further down stated Snow White is named for her pale skin, and her black hair accentuates her paleness. I’ll take their word for it because it seems plausible and I don’t know. WE can get a White Christmas. I think they are nice as long as I don’t have to travel!


  3. First thing that I thought when I saw the title was, Defining color is about more than pigment. It’s about light. And according to physics, black and white are technically not colors because they don’t have their own wavelength.
    When you see black, it is because visible light is missing. White is wavelength overload. The presence of all visible light frequencies. White has many symbols and you picked them up nicely 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. En chime, la reconnaissance des poudres blanches était la hantise des étudiants. Reste que le nom de “blanche” designe toujours la cocaine. La glace, les ciels et brouillards d’hiver laiteux font découvrir une couleur blanche aux teintes changeantes . Merci
    à votre oeil de poète et de peintre!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In chemistry, the recognition of white powders was the obsession of students. Still, the name “white” still designates cocaine. The ice, skies and milky winter fogs reveal a white color with changing hues. Thank you
      to your poet’s and painter’s eye!


  5. You covered the sights and symbolism of white well, Frank. As with any color, you could always pick one aspect to cover in more depth. (That white marble, for instance. How cool to see it on the beach!).

    Rabbit Hole Rambling:
    There was a French-Belgian mystery show called in English, “Black Spot,” but the original French title was “Zone Blanche.” 🙂
    Blanche, of course, is also a female name. My daughter played Blanche in her college production of A Streetcar Named Desire. Her now husband played Stanley.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Interesting thoughts……the first thing that popped into my head thinking about “white” was the proverbial white picket fence we all want around the perfect little cottage in the perfect little small town or edge of the forest with roses around the door and……well……yes I’m getting carried away! Funny that was my first thought but I remember distinctly thinking that’s exactly the kind of home I wanted when I was a little girl thinking about growing up and getting my own house. Oh and cats – lots of cats (not necessarily white though!). Great blog Frank.

    Hugs, Pam

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pam,
      Your addition of white picket fences is perfect because they are symbolic. I’ve got the feeling the fence dream never came to be. We had a white cat – Samantha – who had one blue eye and one green eye. The eye color was easy to see against the white background. Thanks for sharing.


  7. Snow white was so named for her pale skin – white as snow! Having black hair just emphasized her paleness (and when white symbolizes good, she was the epitome of goodness)… As for the general topic I think assigning color to morality was a bold move by the Caucasian powerful once they encountered other races. But I’m not going down that path today. Instead we are bracing for more “white stuff”.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Frank, you say you don’t know what to write about white, but I think you covered it admirably! I find it interesting that white reflects all colors to our eyes. Did you know some gemstones are white? I’m thinking of pearls, moonstone, howlite, and sapphire? And I had to giggle at the mental picture of Snow White having dark hair!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Frank, well done highlighting all things white! I recall researching the question some years ago about black and white,…as to whether they are colors or not. I find the physics discussion fascinating on all that. I think white is wonderful, and while a lot of people like a bunch of color in their lives, I’ll always have a soft spot for the “color” white.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This post isn’t a whitewash, is it, Frank? 🙂 One thing you can be sure about white is that there are many variations as anyone looking at paint knows. I love that photo of snow that you borrowed to share. Snow is one of my favorite white venues.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Shelley,
      Glad I was able to work in bird poop. I wonder if I saw a spat around the time of was drafting or editing this essay. 😉 Interesting view of white – and there is no doubt that white does not have a wavelength. A question for you. I fwhat is the absence of color, what is black?


      1. Your getting bird poop in the post did make me chuckle.
        Black is a fascinating color. It’s a combination of colors. Depending upon how many colors are combined and the amount of white added the saturation of the black is determined. Red and green mixed will make black, add some white in the mix together and it will make gray. It’s fun to play with colors.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. A lovely reflection on the colour that holds all the colours. We are expecting snow tomorrow in Vancouver. Everyone will be out with their cameras because we rarely have a snowfall. You reminded me of this Japanese Haiku

    “All Heaven and Earth
    Flowered white obliterate…
    Snow…unceasing snow”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rebecca,
      Wondering if you got the snow. The way your city sits, I imagine you see the snow on the mountains that doesn’t reach the city. Nonetheless and no matter where, snow provides an excellent setting for photographs to capture beauty with craft. Thanks for the wonderful and very fitting Haiku.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Barbara,
      Thanks for the kind words. Very true about the Scandanavians. I’ll take a different view to ponder – white in nature may depend on the eyes of the viewer. For instance, if we see the white flower, does a bee also see it as white? Thanks for walking along and sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. You’re so right about the many and varied nuances of white-it’s hard to settle on one or two thought. Yet this time of year I tend to settle on snow, a mainstay for the Rocky Mountains with serious hopes that it falls often to replenish the watershed that drains toward the western states from the Colorado River. Lots and lots of white stuff will be necessary to fulfill the demands from the river that nourishes 40 million people.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I can still sing all the words to “They’re Coming to Take Me Away,” and you’ve given me a memory flash that has me laughing. I can remember being enthralled with that goofy song. I like the color white as a backdrop to other colors. I also thought I’d mention that most of the beaches in Southern California are tan–like everything else here. LOL! I haven’t seen a white beach in a very long time. It’s an interesting thought. I’m now going to be on a quest!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Debra,
      I recall the few beaches that I’ve seen in your state being tan. The next walk will have some pics of where we winter. Now – about that song. Yout memory flash got me laughing, A goofy song indeed, but a hit! On the 45 version, the flipside was the song played backwards. Yep!


  14. Methinks you covered white rather well. I’m one of those who prefers snow in the winter as it brightens everything up. Rain and no leaves is just too dreary.
    Of course, The Piano Guys wins every time. And look! They are wearing white and playing on white instruments!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dale,
      Thank you. The tough part of Cincinnati winter isn’t the extreme cold – which we don’t have – nor the piles of snow – which isn’t us either …. but the ever presence of brown and gray to accompany the cool and cold. I knew you would appreciate The Pianon Guys! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Amy,
      Thank you …. Oddly enough, Ann-Christine’s theme came out a good time for me. I have a Patterns beach walk in the draft-edit stage. Hopefully it will be ready sometime late winter for spring. I mention the patterns of Alhambra …. then I saw your post. Perfect … and it will be included when I publish. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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