Thursday, September 12, 2013

Beauty

It lives in the strangest places, true beauty. It is not on billboards, selling shampoo. It does not lurk in the spacious dressing rooms of expensive department stores. It is not injected into your skin. It has nothing to do with your skin, actually. Unless you have especially nice skin.

I have seen beauty. I have found it under smooth, satin stones in rivulet streams. With the sun behind me, I have seen flecks of gold and more. You can see it, too.

I see it every day in the soft reflection of light in my daughters' hair. Beauty dances there. It is not still, not for a moment, because my daughters' have busy hair that keeps beauty on its toes.

There is beauty in the soft, tired eyes that hide behind the sleep mask my wife wears. And she will take the mask off in a second. To comfort a sick child. To talk to a scared friend. To hold her husband down when he is afraid of floating away. There is beauty all around her.

Beauty hides in the eyes of the folks I see. Same folks, every day. Each one makes me feel something different, but it is an awareness of life. The nod and twinkle in the eye. I know you. You know me. We see each other. You are beautiful. I hope you see some beauty in it. I hope it makes you realize you are alive, too.

There is beauty in the eyes of someone finding love. Whether it is the first or the thousandth time. There is a release and madness in the smile and pumping heart.

Why speak of beauty? I don't know. I spoke of ugliness yesterday and I don't believe in telling one side of the story.

It is in the gentle smile that belies the pain I know old men feel when they try to stand young. It is in the single Mom who can somehow squeeze a few extra hours into her days. It is the old woman with the sweater she wears every day. It took me months to notice the sweater because it is hard not to look at all those teeth. I don't know whether it's senility or wisdom, but I want it.

The world is a beautiful place. It can also be horrid and ugly. If it wasn't so beautiful, the ugliness would not stand out. If the ugliness were gone, the beauty would become routine.

This isn't much of a story, but I don't have much of a story in me right now. I woke up feeling like I was sedated. Then I stepped out into beauty. I can hear the chirps of my youngest as she strains to get her words heard. My five year old always wants to know how she looks. There are only so many times you can say: "You look like beauty." That looks real nice, kid. I like your shirt.

There is beauty in pain. There is beauty in suffering and sadness. There is beauty in all things that man has access to. You miss a lot if you only look for beauty in the "common" places. Museums. Gardens. I'd rather find a bedraggled dandelion, broken at the stem. Because that's not just beauty, that is a story, and stories are the most beautiful things of all.

14 comments:

  1. There is also beauty in your writing.
    And it's true that without the ugliness to see in contrast to, we would never recognize beauty.Without darkness we would not know light. Without cruelty we would not know kindness. The list is a long one.

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  2. I agree with Yvonne there is beauty in your writing. I agree with you there is beauty all around us.
    I have only been seeing 'ugly' in my world of late, yes me, mrs happy pants. Thank you for reminding me of the beautiful things around me, I was blind to it for a while.
    I always see the beauty in you though, it never dims.

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    1. Aw. Thanks darlin'. I was seeing only ugly, too. But I've flipped the switch at least for today. There is nothing so bad in my life that a hug from my girls can't fix it. And good friends like you and Yvonne. ;)

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  3. "I'd rather find a bedraggled dandelion, broken at the stem. Because that's not just beauty, that is a story, and stories are the most beautiful things of all." Beautiful.

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  4. "If the ugliness were gone, the beauty would become routine." Insightful ... a danger we run routinely. Well done, Mader.

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    1. Thanks much, Rosanne. I appreciate you stopping by. ;)

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  5. So many lines here to re-read and re-read. A beautiful essay and ode and poem in prose.

    I am always awed how you can describe someone's heart so pinpoint accurately: "It is in the gentle smile that belies the pain I know old men feel when they try to stand young."

    Thank you for writing this and sharing it with us, dear Dan.

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    1. Hey, now. ;) Thanks for reading it, lady. oxox

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  6. "You look like beauty." Great stuff, Dan.

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  7. There is beauty in everything you write, Dan. Even when it's about the ugly. Because words, strung together in just the right way, are beautiful, no matter what the subject matter.

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    1. Thank you, Julie. I appreciate the kind words. :) The older I get, the more I see that nothing is good/bad, ugly/beautiful. People try to make it too simple, but it isn't.

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