Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A Visitation of Beauty


A Visitation of Beauty

It was the last thing I expected.  The day had been busy to the point of chaos; so many questions I had to answer, so many places I needed to be.  Now it was after midnight and I sat curled up in my favourite spot, a skein of wonderful wool flowing through my fingers as I knit a new shawl.  With each stitch I wove, another of the day’s irritations unhooked its claws from my soul and flew, grumbling, up the cold chimney and I became lost in the rhythm of knitting.  

 The television was on.  Stephen Colbert’s Late Show -  I often tune in for a bit of his intelligent wit before bedtime.  But this evening, the sound was down low and I was paying him little attention, until I glanced up to see prima ballerina, Misty Copeland, standing on one side of the stage, clearly about to dance to the music of cellist, Yo Yo Ma, who sat waiting on the other side.  I turned up the sound.

  Two human beings doing what they do best in the world, creating a moment of beauty.  My knitting needles dropped from my hands as I watched and listened and by the close, two fat tears had rolled down my cheeks.  I was filled to the brim with the sort of joy beauty bestows and I went to bed - peaceful, hopeful and full of gratitude.

It is often dismaying to see how little we value beauty today, particularly in the light of its importance.  We insure our school sports programs are always well-funded even as we slash art and music away as though they were mere trivialities. If only we realized how much richer the soul becomes by learning to recognize beauty.  How expansive the mind and how happy the heart of the person who learns this early in life, for by making the soul a harbor for beauty one is guaranteed a life that rewards all the days with wonder.

 Some of us are born with an innate ability to see beauty. We seem to be aware of its holy power the first time we encounter it.  However, it is a skill that can be learned as well.   It can start by opening the window at midnight to sit and gaze at the stars.  Finding the perfect fragrant flower to place in a vase by your bed. Stopping on a walk to feel the autumn wind on your face.  Or, by putting down your knitting to watch someone at the height of their powers perform a lyrical, joyful dance. 

 The more you begin to revere the transforming power of beauty, the more beauty you see,  for it seems to reveal itself in direct proportion to how much it is appreciated. You have to pay attention, for beauty is so often ephemeral; like a soap bubble in a breeze.   But oh, what a delightful gift it can be.  How it does lift the soul to soar.

The marvelous Irish writer, John O’Donohue, (one of my favorites)
 puts it much better than I when he writes: 

 "Beauty does not linger; it only visits.
 Yet beauty's visitation affects us and invites us into its rhythm; 
it calls us to feel, think and act beautifully in the world:
 to create and live a life that awakens the Beautiful. 
A life without delight is only half a life."

Stop a moment and watch Misty Copeland and Yo Yo Ma.
I wish you all such beauty in your lives.


16 comments:

  1. What a wonderful reminder of the power of art and music to awaken beauty in our lives. As a former teacher, I have been so sorry to see art and music devalued in schools now, in favor of and education geared to standardized testing. Hopefully the pendulum will swing back. Meanwhile, thank you for this wonderful share.

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  2. Both are a true delight to watch and hear.

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  3. Thank you for sharing this marvelous performance! Thank you also for the reminder that beauty is all around us if we only take the time to look. What might I spy today?!

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  5. Oh, my goodness. What a breathtaking few moments. Certainly lifted my spirits. Thank you so much.
    Rose in Ohio

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  6. Thank you for that!
    signed, a beleaguered elementary school art teacher

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  7. Beautiful beyond, I listen to Yo Yo Ma all of the time and adore ballet, so gracious, so wondrous, thank you Pamela!!

    xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena
    Artist Lee Bowers

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  8. I would hope not only do we appreciate the beauty in this world where we abide but as you suggest seek it out as well. It speaks volumes that you recognize and chose to share this delightful piece. An act of gratitude so genuinely offered and received. Thanks Pamela.

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  9. There is immense humanity in art; how is it that educators don't know that!

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  10. Pamela, this really resonated for me. These moments of beauty often happen in live performances. I had one recently in New York during the curtain call after a ballet performance. One of the ballerinas was retiring and she was inundated with bouquets of flowers and a twenty minute standing ovation. My eyes filled with tears. It was beautiful!

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  11. Exactly what I feel when reading anything written by you!

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  12. I love this, it fills me with emotions

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  13. These are breathtaking few moments .Marvelous performance! Thanks for reminding!

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  14. This is marvelous! It really was beautiful!

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I love to read your comments! Each and every one! Though I'm always reading your comments, I may not respond in the comment section. If you want to write me directly, you may do so at pamela@pamelaterry.net. Thank you for reading!