Saturday, April 26, 2008

More on Beauty

beauty - –noun, plural -ties.

the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, whether arising from sensory manifestations (as shape, color, sound, etc.), a meaningful design or pattern, or something else (as a personality in which high spiritual qualities are manifest).

Yesterday I went out with my mom and had such a nice day. We began the day at a nursery that was hosting an Antique Show. Before going in to the show, we browsed around the nursery, enjoying the beautiful pots of tulips and daffodils that were placed around the grounds, with the perennial plants just beginning their ascent and, of course, many decorative pieces like bird baths, lawn globes and cement urns dotting the landscape. There were strings of tiny mirrors hanging from the trees, glass balls of color hanging in the potting shed widows, and tiny lights wrapped around the rafters of the shed.

Inside the show, I had already determined I was not in need of anything myself, and was just going to enjoy looking at the antiques and making a conscious effort to pay attention to the details I can overlook when I am trying to possess something.

What struck me most pointedly yesterday, while examining the remnants of ages gone by, was the beauty infused in everyday items. Pens with mother of pearl inlay, rolling pins with cheerfully painted handles, even chamber pots with lovely scrolling hand painted flowers and gold accents. Door knobs were impressed with intricate designs in the brass. Even yard sticks were decorated with brass end pieces which were artfully engraved. Sewing baskets, potato bins, pillow cases, dish towels, all adorned with delicate embellishments to make them beautiful. Hair brushes, combs and mirrors, handkerchiefs and even milk pitchers, mixing bowls and door hinges had decorations on them.

I was struck by the desire of the people of the past to have beauty literally surrounding them all the time. And yet we know that life was hard then, death was a reality dealt with frequently, and illness, hunger were constant companions. Life expectancy was far less than today, and many many families lost children and babies to illness.

It seems to me that as our "security" has increased, that is, as our expectation to live to old age, and recover from illnesses, and get enough to eat regularly, the less we intentionally place beauty before us. As a matter of fact, it seems we intentionally place ugly before us, if you look at the architecture and art of the last 70 years. Now, much of what we buy is made cheap, bought cheap, and replaced with more cheap.

So what is the purpose of this little rant? I want to try to include more beauty, intentionally, in my life. I want to share beauty, and I want to be wide open to beauty, especially unexpected beauty. So, to begin the new direction this blog is going, I want to share this photo:

It is the piece of glass used by the other instructor during the icon workshop. This is the man who first taught me how to write icons. This year, he left many of his supplies behind so I could use them as well. While cleaning up, I came across this palette and thought it was beautiful. I snapped this photo before I washed it and put it away. Beautiful.


Blogger Rosemary said...

Interesting post. Yeah. I like the idea. Let's add more beauty to our lives.

April 29, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great idea. Why is it that the tools we modern homemakers use are so plain and utilitarian? Why shouldn't we have pretty rolling pins ( or whatever) to help elevate our daily chores? Maybe help us to remember who it is we are ultimately serving. Mmm.

April 30, 2008  

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