Friday, January 13, 2017

Everything is Beautiful

What does beautiful mean to you?

Something is beautiful in my eyes if its essence creates in me a sense of speechless bliss.

The most beautiful things I've ever seen include:

1. The Northern Lights
After a long hike in the back country of Chilnualna Falls in Yosemite National Park, I was tired and dehydrated, and had just spilled camp stove fuel all over myself. I mentioned to my hiking companion that the sky was glowing, and was immediately pooh poohed for being delirious. And then he saw the dancing lights, and we sat down together next to our tent and watched.

2. The first glimpse of Yosemite Valley from the road to Glacier Point
The first time I saw this was the first time I believed in God.

3. The Eiffel Tower
I don't have a particularly industrial aesthetic, but the grace of this building thrills me any time of year, any time of day. I only need to stand under it to be moved to tears. (The Golden Gate bridge in SF does the same thing to me. I cannot explain it.)

4. The Thinker by Auguste Rodin
This one surprised me. It has copied so many times in so many trite ways, like Monet's Waterlilies series, or the Mona Lisa, I thought I'd be "so over it." But this sculpture moves me every time I see it. 

5. The Peaceful Death of Another Human Being
I've had the opportunity to bear witness to the peaceful death of another human being three times in my life. Each has been different, and each has been moving in its expression of love and spirit

6. The Ending to The Color Purple
This was the first R-rated movie I saw in the theater. I was a scandalous 15 when I saw it. Every time I see this I cry as hard as I did the first time. Which was so hard that my older sister thought there was something wrong with me. (You can ask her. The volume of my tears was disturbing.)

7. My Wedding
Not the whole wedding, but really one specific point in the wedding. As BMG and I were recessing down the aisle, making a beeline for the bar and the receiving line, he whispered, "Look up. Look around. We are surrounded by people who love and support us. I want you to remember this." So I looked up, and it was beautiful

I'm sure that, with a little more thinking, I could generate a much longer list of things I think are beautiful - things like tenderness expressed between my nieces and nephews, the sound of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's voice, summer flowers in Bavaria, the poetry of Langston Hughes. But, when I need a little beauty, these are the places my brain goes first.

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