Never lose an opportunity to see anything that is beautiful.
It is God’s handwriting— a wayside sacrament.
Welcome it in every fair face, every fair sky, every fair flower.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Looking back through a few year’s blog posts, I can see a touch of seasonal sadness every winter. I write less; I rejoice less; it is as if I develop a thickness to my skin and an edge to my voice.
And every spring, a touch of mania. It starts off slow. I slough off the snake’s skin of the ending season and my new skin is tender, hyper-sensitive. The sun’s rays penetrate and scatter like glitter, magic. I thrill at the sound of bird song and peeping frogs. I look forward to the return of the insects, the bats of summer.
And during these weeks where every day unveils a new species of flower?
I lose my everlovin’ mind.
April comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.
Edna St. Vincent Millay
So, yesterday after putting the kids on the bus, I went out and inventoried our yard and woods.
The violets looked so pretty in their morning dewy finery.
I would photograph one, and then another would catch my eye, and another…
I spent a good 15 minutes army-crawling around, my entire front all wet and muddy, my cheek pressed to the grass as I focused the camera. Rush hour traffic hurling by probably thought I was mental, but I was happy.
After 15 minutes of viewing the world through the macro setting on a camera, you can develop a bit of vertigo. I took a break and stretched out— muddying my backside to match my front, a Rorschach of unkempt contentment— and sort of meditated on the fact that each flower is so lovely. And yet individual, minutely different. It’s mind-blowing when you consider it.
A woodpecker laughed at me, and I whipped my head around to find it, and realized the violets have spread quite a bit since last year. Blanketing the entire yard along the side of our house.
All… those… violets. I’d never get around to documenting every single one, the very thought was crazy. And I was sad to think there was so much beauty that would go unnoticed. Just here, in my yard. Think of all the violets in the nature preserve by our house, where virtually no one goes. Think of all the little beautiful things growing everywhere, miracles that edge through the earth’s surface without prompting, without tending, that are never appreciated.
And then I considered all the beautiful things that are never said or created, out of fear of ridicule or failure. All the beautiful things about people that we miss, all the time. All the beautiful moments that we fail to recognize.
I marveled about how we could spend each day in a state of constant wonder and overwhelming awe, if we took the time to pick out and notice all the beautiful and charming things about the world and the people in it. I am amazed by our human tendency to instead focus on the mundane and unfortunate. Why do we do this to ourselves?
I am not religious, this is as close to a holy experience as I get; but I know a wayside sacrament when I see it.
Cheers. Enjoy your weekend with eyes wide open.