I drew a word out of a hat at the beginning of this year, a random pick, which I decided would be my touchstone word for this year. There were dozens of words that had been put into that hat – I drew ‘beauty’… so here is a short meditation on what it means to me.
“Beauty is truth – truth, beauty.” I’ve always loved this quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Whenever I am in the presence of beauty, the vividness of life becomes so apparent.
Yesterday I went for a walk at the end of the day with my partner and our dog, the usual end-of-the-day walk. As we passed the long row of plum trees growing in the vineyard next to us, we commented on the mighty haul of fat, bloom-dusted fruits growing there, no one harvesting them.
A few steps further we came to the mighty fig tree that towers over an old galv iron and wooden lean-to shed – such a charming sight in itself – but doubly so yesterday as we plucked a couple of kilos of bursting-with-juicy-ripeness figs, purple and deep green, soft and squishy to the touch. We came home and I quickly cooked up a fragrant batch of fig jam – now six glistening jars of the stuff sit on my pantry shelf and I had it on my toast this morning. Delicious!
The truth of beauty, I think, is that it lifts us up, and it is all around us when we just open our eyes. I have taken that walk in the next-door vineyard a thousand times over the past few years, and no matter the nature of my mind’s busyness – worries, concerns, calculations, daydreams – I always feel sharper, more alive, and lighter when I’ve returned home.
Beauty is all around, when we care to lift our eyes. And beauty is inside when we take the time to be still and listen.