i have wanted to talk about beauty for a very long time.
i haven't, because i don't know where to start. how do i talk about the thing i care about so intensely - the thing that is the touchstone for my life - that words seem inadequate and insufficient?
that, right there, is the first reason i haven't started the conversation until now.
the second reason i haven't started the conversation is that beauty is a loaded word and our relationship with beauty can be fraught with pain.
there are entire industries that exist to convince us that beauty is a product and we can possess it - if and only if we buy their product. there are societal and cultural mores that portray beauty as useless and frivolous. it is put into boxes - this is beautiful and that is beautiful and unless something is like this or like that, it is not beautiful.
but none of that is what i mean at all.
when i think about beauty, i am thinking about compassion. congruence. harmony. symmetry. joy. delight. simplicity. kindness. trust. surrender. authenticity. vulnerability. radiance. love. passion. pleasure. possibility. play. appreciation. acceptance. courage. belonging. presence. permission. desire. creativity. celebration. curiosity. discovery. insight. sanctuary. homecoming. empathy. devotion. integrity. inspiration. communion. truth. generosity. peace.
and so much more.
when i think about beauty, i am thinking about the richness of a deep, true friendship. the sparkle of sunlight on wet asphalt. deep belly laughter. the smell of lilacs. cooking a meal and setting the table and lighting a candle, even when you are eating alone. a painting that stops you in your tracks. the sight of orion and his bow and arrow in the winter sky above you. a hug hello. the light and warmth of a campfire. the hush in the air after the first snowfall. bright green moss. a photo that moves you and so you order it and wait excitedly for it to arrive and when it does, you frame it and hang it in the perfect place and then you stop and enjoy it every time you see it on your wall. placing the pillows on the couch just so. helping someone in need. picking up a piece of garbage in the park and placing it in the trash can. belting out your favorite song while driving. a line in a book or a poem. the sound of waves crashing on the sand. really truly seeing someone. ruby red pomegranate seeds. a dog on point. a field of prairie grasses blowing in the wind. the crunch of a crisp dill pickle. the moment when you realize, "oh! this is why i do this! and i can change!" a shadow on the wall. a single tear. blue sky after days of grey. sharing something that you are deeply ashamed of and being met with love, compassion, and acceptance. moonlight on the water. the hoot of an owl. the sight of someone you love coming toward you. two raccoon faces peering out from the branches of a tree on an evening walk. the thrill of the northern lights. your breath in the frosty air. celebrating someone's success. the first sip of hot chocolate. blackberry gelato melting on your tongue. your favorite scarf.
and so much more.
there are two things i believe to be true about beauty. the first is that beauty is a need. the second is that beauty is a quality of the soul.
beauty might indeed be the thing i never talk about, but it is also the only thing i ever talk about at all.