Beauty. That ethereal, undefinable quality which we instinctively recognize yet fail to capture with words, music, or photography. Both enigmatic and subtle as the smell of a campfire, as well as loud, boisterous, the pounding of surf on a wild shoreline.
If I lay aside my Christian lens, I would say at humanity’s core lies a deep hunger to experience beauty. But beauty won’t be purchased, can’t be objectified. It demands to be respected, honored for the embodiment it takes. We chase it, yet like an open hand in water, we know it but upon withdrawal, find it still away, somewhere over yonder. We only have the memory, dripping away from us, a tangible reminder of “what once was” and “what might be” again. This “what might be” is our pursuit.
Beauty’s greatest gift to us is its demand for respect according to the measure with which we give its embodiment. A leaf, intricately amazing, is only that . . . a leaf. We ooh and aah over the firestorm of color that Autumn brings us; soon it passes. A bouquet of flowers, comprised of multiple leaves and colors, calls us to pay attention more deeply, more thoughtfully. Its beauty is different than that of a single leaf. The beautiful essence of a kitten is something more intangible, more alive than that of a leaf.
Humans take beauty to its ultimate form. (can we just say that nieces are perhaps the most charming things to grace this planet?) The innocent trust of a child is beautiful, the glittering eye, clear of malice and envy, purer than any precious stone. Yet a child, for all its natural innocence, lacks that final quality. I know of nothing finer on earth than this: a soul, anchored in its self-knowledge and awareness, subsuming its identity into a larger calling and confidently radiating an attitude of humble contentedness while fulfilling its given role. THIS is beauty. It calls to another soul and, in a unique way, demands to be seen. Not in an aggrandizing way for true beauty never calls overt attention to itself. But it does. When you see it, you know it’s there.
I’ve seen it tonight. I’ve watched from afar. Like the stimulating salt air, it invigorated my soul. It called. I . . . hung up. See, beauty is scary. It’s nerve-wracking. We view it, desire it, and unfairly equate it with perfection. Beauty is not synonymous with perfection. Beauty is scary in driving us to believe we must be perfect to appreciate it, to interact with it, to handle its varied forms. Beauty needs not perfection, it invites honesty.
Beauty . . . from afar inspires. In close, it calls us to be real. Its presence stimulates; its absence makes the lonely night darker, more depressing. No matter its guise, it must be respected. Any other response does beauty a disservice.
(imperfect thoughts on beauty recently encountered and how lonely the night is when we leave the presence and essence of beauty. we mourn the sunset because of beauty lost and anticipate the morning when its restored.)
Ignite the discussion,