“It may be those who do most, dream most.” – Fortune Cookie
Beauty… so easy to imagine… so difficult to explain.
Is it often the images we conjure? Is beauty “only skin deep?” Is it “in the eye of the beholder?” Is it even real, or a fracture in our mind we call humanity – some kind of disability or handicap that has mutated [our self or the illness itself]?
When someone asks you to think of something beautiful, more often than not we tend to recall images that captured our ideal of beauty. If it is an ideal, why are there some similarities like the golden ratio or cross-cultural similarities? Can beauty also be the feelings and emotions dwelling in us? I think our music has the effect of bringing to the surface those feelings within. Is that not why we create music? Listen to music? Rock out? Jam out? Bob our heads, tap our feet? Sing on euphorial high?
We strive to be near beauty, to have beauty, to touch beauty, to be touched by beauty, to capture beauty… all of it is an effort to connect with our personal ideal of beauty.
Beauty. Is it only images and emotions? Can it be more, or something else? Can it be what we do?
Pass it forward. The year is 2000. My son is born, I am still adjusting to civilian life, and I learn of a concept shown to me with circles drawn on a notepad, connected in exponential fashion – network marketing. A few years later (I imagine, but the date is trivial), I watch a movie with circles drawn, also connected in exponential fashion – the “pass it forward” concept. Few experiences in real life have shown success with my experiments with the “pass it forward” concept. Most people succumb to the temptation and do not “pass it forward.” This time, I read an article, The Rickshaw Driver, in Parabola’s edition Beauty (Winter 2010 – 2011). Written by Nipun Mehta, it tells of a man who persists at giving his rickshaw driver all of his two-hundred-forty Rupees, where the driver typically makes between two-hundred and three-hundred Rupees. Of course the driver refuses, but the man stuffs his money in the driver’s shirt. The story does not go on to tell what the driver does with this act or what affects the man had with his persistence. I would like to know. I would like to know what affects I had the times I have done this times before. More recently, a man I got to know discouraged me from doing anything like that at all in my life, saying all people are short of perfection, and convenience is the vice of mankind. I agree with his vision, but I disagree with his reasoning. His reasoning is akin to the belief that once is failure is a possibility, one should just quit, now. Why try? What effect will I, or any action I take, have on this life, this world, my friend, my life? What affect will I have on the people I encounter? It is all circles: in debate, in speculation, in the lines drawn between people who randomly or intentionally meet in the middle. Circles.
Is beauty the day, the era of your life, the chapter whose page reveals the hero’s journey when you have finally arrived at that time and place that allows you to accept yourself as your self, and like it? Ten years of walking the path to be a different. At the end, he only found he was fine the way he began. But it is not the answer to the question that is most rewarding; it was not the end that gave him the answer. The path he walked is everything; the end was just an event, a moment, a lapse of time.
No matter how we define beauty, qualify it, quantify it, say it, see it… no matter how we know beauty, its real purpose is to bridge a gap, cross differences, connect the physical and known (explainable) with the metaphysical and unknown (unexplainable). It is a connection.
If a flower is beautiful, than is a slug beautiful? The vacuum of things behind the beautiful is often described as ugly. Why is a slug not beautiful? Why is the feces of an animal not beautiful? Does it not fertilize the ground and benefit insects? Without fertilized ground or insects, flowers could not grow or pollinate. Where is the border, the end of beauty? If we know what things are beautiful, then we know where beauty is, right? But, where at does that beauty end? When your beautiful significant-other is laying on the bed in immaculate nudity, where is the end point of the beauty you are looking at? Is it only the face? Only the hips or chest? Where the bed meets the skin? Where the foreground of the beauty outshines the background of the forgotten? Is it the moment, the time you have looking at him/her before the phone rings, the lights change, or some movement of the body begins the next Eros? Or, is there an end? Does the whole world become beautiful in the fraction of a second your brain and body respond to the electrochemical alchemy beneath your skin?
Beauty is the sands slipping between the fingers of your hand passing through the ocean waters at the shore of time, life, sex, and spirit, and all those things we love and hate about our self. It is the gravel grinding the glacier’s underbelly of our paradigm, idealism, perfection, dreams, aspirations. Strings of hope tethered fastly like spider’s web amongst the flowers in the bed in front of the house we keep and sleep our securities, deposits, savings, and valuable keepsakes we prefer to hide than advertise. Beauty is the smoke we catch in our hands, and then show to share a friend. We can still see it, but unless they have seen the smoke, they will ask. Beauty is the fleeting sunset, the everlasting memory, the rising sun or moon in the heaven of our wonderment.
Is beauty more beautiful when we no it is mortal and will wither? Or, when we know it is immortal and will never change to something less?
Beauty has its affects on us.
Your Hair Drapes, a poem by Artificer:
Your hair drapes over my shoulder like a waterfall as I hold you close, kissing.
The candles dance shadows on the walls behind us. Pleasing.
Soft bed sheets cuddle us throughout the night, teasing.
Rolling over, my weight on top of you compresses your breath, sighing.
Giving in to your temptations, you allow me. I give you sensuality.
Our music comes not from the radio, but the orchestra in our hearts, romantically.
No longer of two, now of one, we make love all night, slowly, intensely, passionately.