While I have defined beauty as something delights, inspires, and enriches, I honestly have to admit that beauty is nearly always accompanied by a brush of pathos. Even as I revel in the enchantment of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, in the pleasure of a mesmerizing sunset hanging over the high plains that is so gorgeous it almost seems artificial, in the satisfaction of careful make-up and flattering outfits, or in the joy expressed by a baby’s spontaneous laughter, I also feel a twinge of longing, mostly because I know the gratification will be temporary. The music stops. The sunset darkens into night. The mascara runs. The sweater is snagged. The baby cries as unexpectedly he began to laugh.
And yet, even the mere memory of any particular delight of beauty continues to lift my spirits. And for that reason, I seek it zealously where ever I can find it. I need beauty at least as intensely as an addict needs a “fix.” Life is tough for all of us, and much of our current, crass culture encourages depression. But beauty can stem the tide of despondency and lift one to another level of existence. I want to create it, see it, hold it, hear it, feel it in every possible way because each experience of beauty becomes nourishment that heals my soul.
I want to walk in beauty every day.