Right now, the leaves are changing color where I live. Sometimes, when driving to or from work, I see striking images of beauty. Magenta, indigo and cadmium orange sunrises and sets, florescent yellow and crimson trees, bursts of water crashing and billowing off waterfalls, sharp mountains cutting into the sky, shrouded in swirls of mist. I feel a need to somehow capture or absorb these images. All I can think to do is to take deep breaths and imagine the beauty coming in to me.
I suspect that I am missing a deeper way of knowing. I want to become one with the beauty; I want to be the streaks of light that look like God is communicating with the mountains. But my thoughts get in the way. All my worries, all my mental distractions keep me from fully experiencing the everyday majestic beauty of nature.
I think that we always want to consume or merge with beauty. It’s why older adults will pinch the cheeks of cute children – they want grab on, to connect. But it’s never satisfying. At least with beautiful food, you can eat it. I think with adults, when we find someone beautiful whom we want to consume that sex is the best we can do. That is, unless we allow ourselves to be cannibals. But then, we would destroy a thing of beauty that we want to hold on to. So, nothing is completely satisfying. If you have the time and ability to paint a beautiful landscape, perhaps that would come close to the feeling of bringing that beauty into your heart. I suppose it would be nice to be able to just let beauty be, and not feel a need to appreciate it on a profound level. But I don’t seem to be wired that way. Perhaps that’s a relic of a culture that insists on controlling nature, on growing flowers in patterns and deciding which plants are weeds. I can’t fence in scenes of great beauty, and I can’t just let them be. When I am confronted with them, the only coping technique I have come up with is to breath it all in deeply. Deep breathing also has the advantage of putting me in a calmer mood, which can help to still the mind a bit to allow me to more fully notice beauty. But it is inadequate, and I wonder if I will ever find a way to more fully appreciate beauty in my lifetime.
The Black River, by Roxanne Rodgers
More thoughts about natural beauty are behind this flower:
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This is my 2006 report on the structural violence of institutional racism and poverty that produce an inadequate and unequal public school system in the United States. The case study is of Central High School in Providence, Rhode Island:
Central High School
Here are two large posters that I created that show the Citric Acid Cycle and Photosynthesis:
Maybe things can be completely satisfying if one stops trying to complete the satisfaction.
Good point. On the other hand, the beauty of appreciating beauty is that it is never satisfying. There’s always something to be longed for. It is that endless pursuit of satisfaction that makes it so magical.
I know, I’m trying too hard. I should let it be what it is.
While you ponder ways to more fully appreciate beauty in your neck of the woods, consider the less fortunate. When I lived in Los Angeles, the L.A. Times, on every first day of fall, posted a picture of seemingly the only one tree in the entire city that changed color. (Come to think of it, it was the only tree, because the paper used the same photo year after year )
People like us had to “breathe in” the smell of concrete and car spews. “Deep breathing” meant less oxygen for our alveoli. So I would have died for your dilemma.
All the other trees went to make the LA Times. The paper was just paying homage to its ancestor.
i think i know what you are talking about. ya know when you visit someones home or the pet shop and you see the cutest puppy ever and you just want to hug its head off? but hten you never want to stop hugging it? if you brought the puppy home as yours you wuold still want to hug it till its head pops off too so its kinda the same thing.
p.s. can you put my blog on your blog roll or your equalvilant? the name is: ideaswelcome.squarespace.com
[…] I suspect that I am missing a deeper way of knowing. I want to become one with the beauty; I want to be the streaks of light that look like God is communicating with the mountains. But my thoughts get in the way. All my worries, all my mental distractions keep me from fully experiencing the everyday majestic beauty of nature. READ FULL POST […]