We Need Beauty

Posted: March 30, 2010 in beautiful
Tags: , ,

We need protein. We know that and so we go find it in the morning, at lunch time  and in the evening, sometimes making too many trips back to the refrigerator for what we know we need.

We need sleep. We know that at night, and sometimes in the afternoon and after we have performed for too long and given away too much of our stored energy.

We need safety. We know that when we drive and when we fly and sometimes when we read or watch the news.

We need love. We know that when we are alone too much, and when we lose someone treasured and valued and when we want to be hugged or held.

We need beauty. Too often we don’t know that.

We need the beauty of volume, of things cubic, of things with circumference. The other night I looked up. The moon was huge and far and white. I put it in my eye, and I washed a little bit of the difficult day out with it.

We need the beauty of distance. A few weeks ago I went out to the Anza Borrego desert east of San Diego. From highway 79 just south of the town of Julian I stopped at the desert outlook. I squeezed through the sun roof of my SUV and sat on top.  Thousands of feet below and miles away, the beautiful, sandy desert and beyond the blue Salton Sea. I soaked my psyche in the far off.

We need  the beauty of faces. I recently looked into the face of a woman with cancer and then into the face of her mother who  had just prayed for her, thanking God for giving her her little girl so long ago,  a very old woman praying for her aging daughter and all the beauty she was at the beginning and is now, perhaps near the end.  I looked in their faces as they looked in each other’s familiar faces and there was pure, love-drenched beauty.

We need the beauty of color. Last weekend my wife and I hiked the trail from the top of Torrey Pines, south of Del Mar, down to the beach. Stopping half way down, the color palate was stunning, yellow Sea Dahlias, red Paint Bush, blue heliotrope, purple and white Black Sage and the red sand cliffs and the aqua marine ocean. We needed this because we had worked too much in confined spaces, too close to sheet rock and paint for too long.

We desperately need beauty, the beauty of motion. Last weekend, when we reached the beach at Torrey Pines, there sliding through the waves, we watched pod after pod of dolphins swim south in the sea. They swam in lyrical, synchronized  movements, up and down with each other by threes and fours. Their arcing, slicing motion was  beauty,  healing and good.

A few days ago some friends and I got together with an artist; she spread out her water paints, and we went at it. In color and shape we expressed life, fresh life, changing life.  We broke free from amateur attempts at realism and painted our feelings of renovation, innovation and exhilaration. The results were astonishing — beautiful, inspiringly beautiful. Some of my friends had Down Syndrome. Their art? Simple and beautiful.

We need beauty, often, close, experienced,  savored.  We would do well to know that more and to make the conscious aesthetic choice to go find it, to know it, to treasure it, to soak in it, and to let it inside of us to fill us up again.

  1. Thank you for this little bit of much needed beauty. I read it and put it in my eye and it washed a little bit of the difficulty of my day out of it. Beauty is so essential, and even more so, the awareness of our need for beautiful things and experiences. Beauty is the lens through which we embrace our imagination…

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