Reverb12: Beautiful Things?

(As I said I might do, I went to a different Reverb source for today’s prompt. This one comes from a site called dailyangst.com.)

What brought beauty into your life this year? Was it a tangible thing or something intangible? Tell us about it in detail.

There was a similar prompt at some point in Reverb11 last year. As was so a year ago I’m somewhat concerned by the fact that an answer to this doesn’t jump out at me. I ask again today as I did nearly a year ago if I am blind to beauty. This is mostly a rhetorical question, because in the end I don’t think I’m blind to it. Yet after facing this question two years in a row with the same difficulty, it might be time to acknowledge a pattern.

I worry a lot. Regret even more. I suffer a great deal of anxiety, for myself and for loved ones. (Probably even more than I did a year ago.) I have nightmares and such.  Many of my plans have not worked out, and I don’t often know the exact next step to take once said plans become derailed. I grow weary of plans not working out, weary of being worried about them, weary of not knowing what to do about all of it, and weary with having to go through much of it alone.

This comes in waves. A month or two being disgusted by how things are turning out, (or failing to turn out as it were.) Then a month or two of accepting and even embracing the fact that I am still building something. Then when that doesn’t yield the dividends I planned, up comes the wave again. Even when the tide has receded for a while, there’s plenty of flotsam and jetsam left on shore to make running barefoot along the beach a delicate task.

It should come as no surprise that the perception and reception of beautiful things is altered under such circumstances.

Altered. Not destroyed. It isn’t that i recognize no beautiful things. On the contrary, I have this deep set intellectual understanding that beauty is everywhere. I know flowers are beautiful. That  music is. Love can be beautiful for those lucky enough to find it. Friendship too. Dew on morning grass and the casual deep orange streaks of a sunset are beautiful things and I know it. But is knowing beauty the point? Can the full power of the beautiful in the universe be attained through intellectual recognition? No.

For much of my time, beautiful things are like the stars in the middle of the day. They’re out there by the billions. I know they are out there, and the concept of how many there are is mind numbing. Just reflecting on the truth about the stars, and how little we really know about space can serve a great purpose. But in the end the practical truth of the matter is that you can’t see any of them, except the sun of course. And you can’t even look at that one.

Now, much like that sun, sometimes the ubiquitous beauty of which I am intellectually aware breaks through the clouds and shines upon me with the full emotional and spiritual impact which makes it relevant to human life in the first place. I enjoy those moments. I share them with others and write about them when words are sufficient or appropriate. I am thankful for them and reflect on them. But eventually daytime comes as daytime tends to do, and it all becomes an  intellectual understanding again, as opposed to the sort of starry night that moved Van Gogh, despite his madness.

Is this sad, or merely a truth about myself? Part of me thinks it would only be sad if I perceived no beauty of any kind in any fashion. As I have told you, this is not the case. And when I feel beauty with my spirit as much as I see it with my mind, it is quite the awe inspiring moment, believe me. But would an alteration of my thought patterns or daily perception of the world allow for a more emotional/spiritual relationship with beauty on a regular basis than I posses at present? Or is the dynamic I have with beautiful things sufficient?

I don’t know. Do you?

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3 Comments

  1. I don’t think it’s very sad.

    Funnily enough, this reminds me of a sermon, of all things. To attempt to sum it up, it was about feeling beauty and experiencing the world with the childlike joy that most of us eventually lose, instead of understanding everything only in terms of its material or aesthetic or even moral worth. If that makes any sense. :/

    Oh — btw, I gave you a blog award! You can view it here: http://lauraplusthevoices.blogspot.com/2012/12/awesome-commenters.html

  2. Noel

    This really got me >>> beautiful things are like the stars in the middle of the day.

  3. Thanks for the blog award, Laura. And perhaps retaining some child-like joy would be of use to me…to all of us. I think I still have it for certain things. Often related to the theatre, though you probably could have guessed that. =)

    And Noel, I’m glad you appreciate the metaphor.

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