The Need for Beauty


We have news blaring at us twenty-four hours a day. 24 hours – 1440 minutes – 86,400 seconds every day – NEWS. I am not sure about others, but there are times (growing more often every day) when I need to see and hear something beautiful. Some days it is the magnificent and effortless soaring of a turkey vulture. A bird with the looks that only a mother could love, has the graceful flight of an angel. To see him or her fly is to see an animal in it’s perfect glory. Riding the thermals ever higher, it is a sight to behold.

And then there is music. I’m not sure one could do any better than to sit quietly and hear the penetrating rhythms of Domenico Scarlatti’s Sonata K322 played on guitar. If that is not to your taste, try Van Morrison’s Into the Mystic, or an old Hank Williams rendition of Hey Good Lookin‘. It really doesn’t matter your choice in music, what’s important is that we stop and exchange the sounds of loud motorcycles, yelling neighbors and the blaring horns of irritated drivers for the wonder of music. Music can, and does take us all around the planet. You can meet the genius of Mozart, Freddie Mercury or colorful Mexican Mariachis with the push of a button.

What’s in your backyard, or the home across the street, or the desert path two miles from your front door? Do yourself a favor, stop and focus on the structure of the next flower you see. Look at its petals, the tiny center and color. Does it smell good. Is it soft? As you look at it, is it possible to frown? Here in Tucson we see magnificent blooming cactus flowers. Bold reds, bright yellows and creamy white blossoms are on full display much of the year. The smallest flowers (some call weeds) can grow and thrive in the hardest, most rocky desert soil. Could you do that? What grows near you?

What about books? What is the last great book you have read? Did you fall in love with a character? Did the author have you so spellbound you couldn’t put the book down until the last two words were – The End? How many people have you told that you loved Educated, or maybe it was The Grapes of Wrath or was it the latest Harry Potter book? Would you rather have dinner with Emily Dickinson, John O’Donohue or Barbara Kingsolver? Perhaps you prefer poetry, science fiction, or something so clever and funny it makes you linger in the bathtub (my favorite reading spot) until you finish the next chapter. Take a trip anywhere in the world, its just a short trip to your library.

How often do you go and spend time outdoors? When was the last scarlet sunset that took away your breath? When were you last up early enough to see the sun come up over the mountains or across the ocean? When was the last time you walked into the desert, mountains, plains, woods or canyon and listened as the silence of nothing grew louder and louder? Treat yourself soon if your answer was, “I don’t remember.” Say hello to a spiny lizard, a small bunny hopping to get away from you, or bumblebee as it goes about it’s business. Pick a wild flower and give it to someone you love. Thank whatever you believe in for the moment you have solely for yourself. It’s yours alone, just for that brief moment.

Find whatever is beautiful for you. Enjoy that beauty and then do it again and again and again.

“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.” Confucius

Go Well, David