it never exists

The color red, as an attribute of the world, is always there. It is something other than the absence of yellow and blue-and, thus, when that red becomes less red, it becomes more one or the other. It never exists in a linguistic condition of degradation or excess that must necessarily derive from our expectations.

The branch upon which the blossom hangs may be long or short, rough or smooth, strong or weak according to our expectations, but the redness of the blossom is irrevocable, and the word 'red' tells us next to nothing about it. There are thousands of colors in the world and only a few hundred words to describe them, and these include similitudes like teal and peach and turquoise. So, the names we put on colors are hardly more than proper names, like Smith or Rodriguez, denoting vast, swarming, diverse families of living experience. Thus, when color signifies anything, it always signifies, as well, a respite from language and history-a position from which we may contemplate absence and death in the paradise of the moment-as we kids in Santa Monica contemplated the death of puppies in the embrace of cartoon rainbows.

Dave Hickey