old world: diamine mediterranean blue
Sunlight hits the top of a building, chasing the shadows down the wall. A breeze carries the smell of mountain sage. It is so quiet that you thing you can hear the waves crashing around the mountain’s skirts, smell the briny waves. The house is still in shade, but the light illuminates through the windows, through doors and arches. Curtains dance softly to an invisible music, perhaps to the chirping birds. In the distance, hills of old olive trees start to be drenched in the warm glow of the sun. Beyond the morning mist, a lazy sea awaits, more silver than blue.
Sometimes, Europe is called the “old world.” The world they knew before sailing out to discover places. It’s arrogant, people have lived everywhere else for a long time too. This “new world” seems like it sprung out of the crust of the Earth for them. Empty. I never liked how these were phrased, no matter the intentions.
I’ve been coming to Crete for the better part of a decade. Life feels old here. The weathered mountains, the poking rocks, the tired but lush olive trees. People have been living here for a very long time, shaping the world around them. It is impossible not to see the ghosts in the abandoned houses in the village, in the ruins of Knossos; it is impossible not to hear the laughter and the chatter of generations. People loved this land for a long time, and the land seems to love them back.
My footsteps disappear into the sand when I walk the line between the shore and the Mediterranean Sea on its best behaviour. With each gentle lap of the water against your ankles, it’s easy to believe that the sea loves the people back too. I think about the people that might’ve walked this very shore. Their footsteps also disappearing into the sand, their footsteps lost to the sand for millennia. The footsteps that are yet to leave a mark on the sand, another millennia from now on.
When you stare at them for so long, you’ll realize that the blue of the sky and the blue of the sea are not the same. The sea blue shifts and recoils, the sky blue is a stark, single blue. Not a single cloud in sight, not even a single tall tree to obscure the view of the sky. It’s just bare rocks and tiny shrubs under the blazing sun.
Then, if you distil the colour of that sky, pour it into a bottle like any other ink, you get Diamine Mediterranean Blue.
Truth be told, this ink doesn’t have many bells and whistles, no extreme shading, no sheen, not a super saturated colour. It’s a little flat on the page, without much shading. It behaves well on the page, flows well out of all the pens I’ve put this ink in. Nothing unexpected for Diamine, who make trustworthy inks that if I like the colour, I pretty much buy the ink instantly. You don’t need to second-guess the behaviour or quality of the ink.
The colour and the name of the ink fit it perfectly. I use it often, it’s my second favourite blue next to Rohrer & Klingner’s Blu Mare, the perfect sea blue. It reminds me of the sky I miss so much, especially during the winters. I don’t want to call the Dutch winters miserable, because I love the rain and the cold, but nothing compares to a Mediterranean summer. Everything is vibrant, colourful and alive. So much more alive.
Now, I use this ink again, in one of my new pens that became a reliable one quickly. A new friend, and a very, very old one. Under the bluest sky I’ve ever seen, this ink is still as good as it was under the grey sky. It’s Mediterranean Blue indeed.
This is also one of the inks I brought the whole bottle to the holiday with me. A vibrant ink that comes alive as it flows out of the pen. I haven’t been writing as much as I hoped I would be, but at least when I do, it’s the blue of the skies I spent so long dreaming for.
Thank you for reading! The DC show seems to be in full swing and I love seeing all the photos and the videos. For the rest of us, I hope everyone’s holidays are going well.