Always With Us
The trouble with physical beauty isn’t with physical beauty.
The trouble with physical beauty is with us. Past generations
could name it but we’ve grown tongue-tied in our attempts to
ensure everyone gets a participation trophy. But consider this.
Let’s take, for example, a woman like Princess Kate Middleton.
Now is she financially savvy, good with kids, a whiz at Scrabble,
and has the grit to handle a Rover? Yes, yet when we all first
laid eyes on her the singular response from peasant to prince
was “My God, she’s beautiful!” Or (bear with me) consider this.
Let’s take, for example, the T.A. Moulton barn on Mormon Row
backdropped by those Tetons grand. If you were to tell me your
initial reaction to that scene was “I wonder what kind of nails
they used to build that barn,” then I’d have to think you a weirdo.
That iconic frame takes your breath away leaving you speechless
save for some variation on a theme of—“Beautiful!” Now by all
means that’s not all there is to Princess Kate or the T.A. Moulton
barn and going no further than the physical leaves us adolescent.
But to blunt the surface in favor of divining the depths is nothing
more than the opposite but equal error when it comes to the trouble
with physical beauty, which has been and always will be, with us.
Agreed! One of the gifts of this last leg of the journey, as I move ever closer to 80, has been the ability to savor and remark on anyone and anything that is lovely to the eye WITHOUT a smidge of judgment, or any kind of parsing. It is just lovely to look at, period. And a gift to be grateful for. Photography has helped enormously – always a rank amateur with limited skills and equipment – but honing in on loveliness thru that viewfinder has taught me so much about so many things. It has become a primary means of Grace for me, and a true spiritual discipline.
And I had a great conversation today with a beautiful young woman with whom I would have been either intimidated or dismissive (depending on my particular sin preference of the day) when I was her age.
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”