You know what they say about clichés, right?
When someone says, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder," it's cliché. But only because it's a phrase that's been overused—not because it's any less true.
The blogging community to which I belong was tasked with power writing about something we each find beautiful—something people may not understand. (You can find all these great posts here.) And I won't be surprised at all if "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" makes up more than one title.
It's an interesting topic because it's come up more than once in my freelance writing, and always in conjunction with seeing beauty in the ordinary.
The first time I remember talking in depth about this, it was with local writer/journalist/author Barbara Mahany, when I was profiling her for her book, "Slowing Time." We talked about the little things that get us through each season...
... Mahany's section devoted to winter takes the reader by the shoulders and shakes some good sense into them, just by asking you to look around and take notice of the inherent beauty of the season. Things like:
"Frost ferns on the windowpanes ..."
"Soup kettle murmurings low, steady, hungrily ..."
"Snow falling first in feather-tufts, then fairy-dusted stars, and finally, prodigiously, in what could only be curds ..."
It takes some serious intent and grace to find things like soup kettles beautiful. But it's not uncommon for me to search out the little things. I was writing about saying goodbye to my inner night owl the other night, when I found myself thinking about what made that time special ... beautiful. And it's the little things. The bonding between mama and baby when breastfeeding at 2 a.m. The sounds of a baseball game on very late at night with a breeze floating through the french doors. Meaningless to anyone but the mama and the baby. Or the Cubs fan and Joe Maddon. (BTW, THIS IS OUR YEAR!)
Most recently, I was interviewing Chicago artist Suzette Bross, who has made a name for herself with photography of what most would consider the every day. Feet on a walk. Blurry landscapes driving down an interstate. Underwater views of women swimming. When I asked her how she came to this particular place in her work, she said, "It's looking at the every day and the beauty in the every day that can be overlooked."
So I do. Maybe it's my way of practicing gratitude, but I do try to find, even in my dark, Trump-hating moments, something that is beautiful. I'll stare at my overflowing bookshelves, thinking that despite its slovenly appearance, just the simple fact I've had the chance to read all those books is beautiful. That their dust jackets add color to the space. Character. Beauty. A messy kitchen? My OCD screams, "Clean it up!" but I can't help but thinks it's a little beautiful. Messy kitchens mean the kids are eating. They're home. They're safe. And they're slobs. But I love my slobs. Electronics a hot mess plugged in on the desk? Unsightly, maybe. But they're plugged in. Meaning they aren't being used. Beautiful.
And no matter how tired I am on my way to work at 6 a.m., the sunrise makes me wish there was someone in the car to share it with. So damn pretty.
For me, it really is the little things that make life beautiful. And I'm grateful for all of it.
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Filed under: mumbo jumbo