What is it about beauty that can often leave us speechless and still? The kind of still that awe and reverence have a way of bestowing upon us. The kind of still that empties us of everything except the silent calm of the soul.
For the past ten years I have lived surrounded by immense natural beauty. Every day the view from any window in my apartment stuns me. I have never once tired of this view, especially the sky.
As I write this, the sun is setting in front of me and as I look up, I see a blue heron gliding silently through the air. The birdsong echoes through the trees and fills my heart with the kind of joy that can only be felt from a place of deep gratitude.
Without question, beauty humbles.
No matter what’s going on in the psychological drama of our minds, the beauty of nature is like a giant, glorious wrench thrown into the spinning cog of a wheel.
All nattering stops instantly.
Only the heart beats while veins pulse and lungs take a long, slow, sweet drag of fragrant air.
Peace…just like that.
Surely for the human mind to be rendered paralyzed by such beauty, is to suggest that there is something beyond the so-called intellect we seem to hold in such high regard.
What is that ‘something beyond’?
Whatever it is, it’s good medicine and tastes like what I imagine to be an awful lot like the nectar of the gods, you know…the small, everyday ones….the ones we often overlook because we’re too busy living in our heads or in our iPhones.
Even if I wasn’t so fortunate to live among this heaven on earth called the Niagara Escarpment World Biosphere, I know I would make it the highest priority to seek out such beauty on a daily basis whether that be in a park, on a beach, a lake, a garden, a pond, a stream, or a tree-lined street.
Nature soothes the soul, and never has there been a time when this kind of gentle succor and inner nourishment has been needed more.
We may think all our highly advanced modern technology is improving our way of life here on earth, and in many spectacular ways it is, but if we are using it to further expand our already exaggerated sense of ego-mind, something that is numbly taking us ever further away from the grounded, earthy wisdom of the feeling heart, then we should not be surprised when we find ourselves feeling empty and void of what it means to be living a beautiful, authentic life.
Even though I live in such beauty, there are still days when I wish I was living a different life. The one in Tuscany among the vineyards and olive groves of my sprawling villa, where I get to cook and feed people and eat outside in the sunshine most of the time. The one where the perfect life partner materializes and we live the happily ever after story. The one where I have so much money that I can give most of it away to good causes. The one where I’m a successful writer and get to stay home all day and write.
These are beautiful thoughts and I enjoy thinking them and they may or may not ever come true, but what I’ve come to know about life thus far is that it’s often what we do without that makes us humble. It’s what we’ve learned to rise above that makes us strong. And it’s what we’ve had to endure that makes us gentle.
Somehow, beauty has a way of saying all of this when we take the time to notice even the smallest speck of it.
Such is the majesty of God in all things, but it can only been seen through the eyes of wonder.