“ ‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty,’ “ – John Keats (a poet I used to adore, back when I was a kid and knew that poetry existed)
As we go about our daily lives, it’s easy to get mired in the small, countless details that come to our attention. Things like “hmmm, running out of milk,” or “laundry needs doing again,” or “hey, that driver cut me off!” I especially get lost in reviewing conversations I had at work the day before, thinking about bills, or trying to plan my day. Sometimes really big things come up, both good and bad. Someone’s getting married, having a baby, lost a job, lost a friend. That’s just life. It has its ups and downs. If you have a network of people around you, it makes the good times better and the hard times a little bit easier to bear. But there are always moments that are just ours. Things we can only experience in the moment, that feel impossible to try to explain or share with someone else.
Out of those private moments, I enjoy the times when I have stopped to soak in the beauty of the world the most. The tulips that bloomed behind my garage. Walking in a lazy, slate-bottomed creek. A little kid’s wonderment at everything around them, things I usually see as just part of the background. A weird piece of street art, or an oddly elaborate sewer cover. A stranger’s haircut. Music that makes my heart soar and my throat catch. Things so beautiful or perfect or just so right for me in the moment that they make me tear up.
Those moments are part of the magic of being alive. In a sense, I feel like I live for those moments. When I think about death, and how much I fear it, losing the ability to experience these small miracles is part of what makes it hurt so much. Joy and wonder and love are such glorious emotions. But after a time, the mundane details of life creep back, and if I don’t hurry I’ll be late to work, and I have no idea what’s for dinner, and that’s okay too. We can’t steep too long in beauty lest we forget the other things life is about – being with other people, and accomplishing things, and caring for family, and sometimes not knowing where you put your keys.
I encourage everyone who reads this, especially if you haven’t in awhile, to seek out a beautiful, wondrous, small something in your life. Breathe in, fill up your heart, linger on it – then breathe out, and let it go. Relish your place in this complex, miraculous world we live in, separately, together, and continue your day.
Author: Chelsea Robertson