Untitled, 1959

7:00 AM

Mark Rothko, Untitled, 1959
By KARL SHEERAN

Red veins fill everything. They fill the hands that write this post. On the surface, they appear a deep ocean blue, similar to the skin of a cadaver. The blue veins pass de-oxygenated blood through the body, back to the heart and lungs. The heart pumps the “blue” blood into the lungs, which then rejuvenate the blood, diffusing rich oxygen into the disc-shaped cells.

Rothko’s Untitled, 1959, pictures the seemingly-never-ending cycle of blood from blue to red, oxygenated to deoxygenated. Allow me to blow your mind with science. The average person lives 27,375 days and a blood cell lasts 120 days. Say a person goes through one blood cell at a time. They would go through 228 red blood cells in their life. Oh that’s not so much you think but only WISH that was it. The body contains 20-30 trillion red blood cells at any one time. That’s right, trillion with a T. In one lifetime, 5.7 quadrillion discs flow through the miles of veins, arteries, and capillaries, almost like bringing life-extending data on a CD to each individual cell. But that all has to come to a close in due time.

Rothko reminds us that while the cycle repeats for seemingly forever and a day, it eventually breaks off to complete it in a muddy burgundy. We enter into the world out of the void and live in the crimson red of oxygen, constantly exhausting it yet not appreciating the magnitude of work our body is capable of. We live unappreciative of everything that happens in our favor, ultimately perceiving such as we fade into the grey.

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