I recognize the intensity and magnitude of a glorious happening; it’s that which leaves me awestruck and stupefied. It’s that which surpasses my physical self to touch the very essence of my being.
The way colours combine, textures of light, the depth of an infinite sky, or the blue-black gaze of a newborn child’s eyes. All these lift consciousness to a different level. How words ignite a page, the physiological response to a mother’s touch, the magic of a lover’s kiss.
Some find beauty in perfection, while for me, beauty can present as a rotted tree trunk, a fence missing slats in exchange for honeysuckle, an old house gone to wrack and ruin. I look into things that might have once been considered beautiful, seeing them with a fresh perspective, at the possibilities, as they travel through what is known as time.
I believe it is bad luck to speak of beauty before the fact, or theoretically. This belief doesn’t stop me. I know that there is an alchemical relation between form and function and that this corporation has produced some of the most beautiful objects possible. Marine propellers, for example, or catamarans. Beauty is about sorrow and loss and while this is obvious in, say, Michelangelo’s Pieta, it’s less so in the young, radiantly smiling faces of Audrey Hepburn or Marilyn Monroe.
Caught at exactly the right moment between dawn and sunrise, the sky greets me in layers of sherbet shades — pinks and oranges that steal my breath as surely as they chase away the darkness. Beauty seeps from that moment, offering itself to anyone who takes the time to see it.
To witness Found Beauty, which is subjective, and to use it as the basis for Created Beauty, which is objective, thus creating in the appreciation of the reader the synthesis of both, is the absolute prerogative of the artist.
As I recall, I drift at sea in a fog. I pull on the oars of reading and research and somehow strike land. I have to leave the boat, jump in the water, get cold and wet, and flounder. As I stumble up the beach, I find I was not even close to where I thought I was.
We all, in some way, suffer in relation to beauty: in spite of, alongside, because of, or for its sake. If I had to call beauty one thing, I would call it an aesthetic; a lenient appreciation that is malleable in each creator’s hands, because what’s graceful to some is pure jive to others.
In an era when many time-honored literary conventions have become extinct, it is reassuring to learn that at least one literary genius is trying to re-feather the Muse by creating a new and vital verse form.
Beauty seems to be essential for humans. It springs up everywhere, even in the most desolate circumstances, like a weed that grows out of a crack in cement and briefly flowers.
Whatever the subject, be it clearly a thing of beauty, like the tracery of branches at dusk, or an old lamp someone discards on the sidewalk, I try in my work to shape and share my own experience of its miraculous existence in a world full of chaos and difficulty.
Emilie’s Audi crosses the mountain border between Western Washington and Eastern Washington. Lush greenery turns into dry desert as the sun rises above the horizon. After driving a few hours on one long two-lane highway, she turns off onto the exit Siri tells her to take.