Science uses the Red Shift to measure deep cosmic distances. But how to measure deep historic time? How about—the Saffron Shift.
If history itself had a color, it is . . . like wood or bark, or living forest floor.
Assigning hues to time periods, the sum total of history is saffron-brown—but the chromatic arc starts from blinding white (prehistory) to sun-yellow (Ancient Greece), then deepening to pale wood tones (Dark Ages) and finally exploding like an infinite chord into a full brown palette that includes mahoganies, siennas (Middle Ages), oak, sandalwood (the Renaissance), cherry, maple (Age of Reason), and near-black old woods (Industrial Revolution) for which there may not be names.
As time approaches our own, the wood-brown palette fades to a weird glassy colorlessness, goes black-and-white for a brief span as you think of photographs of your grandparents, and then again fades until we get a clear medium that is the color of the world.
And the present moment is perfectly transparent.
It’s only as you start looking into the future, that the colors start returning. The glass is turning silvery with a murky haze, and there is blue somewhere in the distance . . .