life lessons

Of birds and beauty, sort of

Hi my friend,

You’re well, I trust? Based on the magnificence you are finding in the world – be it the sun teasing the cove (davidkanigan.com) or a turquoise window frame weathered to imperfect perfection (windinmywheels.com) – my sense is that you’re doing very well, which in turn makes me pretty damn happy.

Ah, beauty – it’s ever present, depending in part I think on what you want to see. I see the suggestion of green on exhausted bushes, bent and weary from the crazy winter we’ve had, and I think that little promise is beautiful. The vibrant appearance of a passionately red cardinal on a bare branch – beautiful. Few could argue with natural wonder and the sheer gorgeousness of it all. John O’Donohue wrote that “beauty is the illumination of the soul”. I find that such images brighten my being, enhance my frame of mind, perhaps eclipsed solely by images of my kids and grandkids. (I do know this is not what O’Donohoe meant necessarily)

There’s a ‘but’ coming…

But, I wonder as I look in the mirror, as I commiserate with friends-of-a-certain-age, why it is that we bemoan what we see. I’m still searching for the perfect blush, spend far too much looking for the jeans that will forgive the muffin top, lift the butt and have an inseam for a 4’10” woman. I still fret over hair color and my total absence of style. I hear one of my mom’s mantras “an owl to one, is a nightingale to another”, and am grateful that to my husband I’m more nightingale than avian predator.

And I know that inner beauty is far more than a cliche – it is undeniable. The beauty of a generous heart, a compassionate soul, a belly laugh…the beauty of a soothing voice, a spontaneous bear hug, a sincere word. Without these, there is no depth to the definition of beauty. Yet the doubt persists – and we fake the outside to try and match that inside. I keep telling myself I haven’t peaked yet. Just wait…

Anyway, a musing that really has no place to go, just an observation of what is arguably the driver of a helluva lot of marketing. We’re old enough to know that we want and what we feel we lack, even if it is frivolous and fleeting. When I was wheelchair bound, I just wanted to walk again; when I was up and walking again, I wanted to run (and I was never a runner)…Maslowe had nothing on this pyramid of needs and wants. Which makes me laugh…which throws me off track…which brings me back to the weather turquoise wood and the value of its story…which brings this musing to an end. Be well, hug those you love an awful lot and I’ll see you soon.