Margaret Jarek


mjarek Monday July 25, 2016

Beauty 512
I was just entering my freshman year of high school when I first read Sara Teasdale’s poem that begins with the line “Life has loveliness to sell.”

In some profound manner those words embossed themselves on my youthful consciousness in such a remarkable way that they were to become the guiding motif of my life.

If it can be said that I set a specific goal for my life it was simply to allow no day to slip away without an effort on my part to be truly present to some manifestation of beauty.

In the midst of life’s many challenges, I can honestly say I have, for the most part, never lost sight of that goal.

In recent years, for at least the past decade, I’ve maintained a notebook to which, without fail, I list one lovely thing I have noticed for each day. In addition which, I also list four or five things for which I am grateful.

The consistency with which I have maintained this focus on lovely things may seem, at first glance, a trivial thing since it nets me neither wealth or worldly power. And yet, I learned a long time ago that being detached from the world’s definition of success has allowed me to have more time to truly savor the less tangible, but no less rewarding aspects of life lived in an awareness of all that is beautiful.

I’ve thrilled to something as insignificant as the antics of a chipmunk at my feeders when the world is still sparkling with morning dew and as grand as the view from the summit of a cliff.

I know where to find a meadow on the edge of a forest where the Queen of the Prairie is massed in a cloud of pearlescent pink.

I savor the scent of a linden blossoms in June and always, always I listen for the messages of the wind spirits as they pass through the branches of the old cotton wood tree.

I listen for the melodious sound of church bells on a Sunday morning, but I also know silence contains the beautiful music in all creation,

I never need to go far afield in order to harvest my daily share of beauty. It’s all around me in clouds and stars, in every flower that blooms and in every blade of grass. Perhaps this in no way contributes to the world’s progress, but neither does it add to its perdition.

The world will not take note of it when I am mesmerized by the flight pattern of a red tail hawk or when I lose myself in the subtle colors of a stone.

Of what use is this to anyone but me?

And yet I have this odd idea that all this beauty that seems to be the signature of creation somehow deserves to be noticed and appreciated.

It seems sad to me that we humans who have the capacity to notice and relish it all never seem to have time to truly be fully conscious of the incredible world in which we live, It’s just not right to ignore the grand artistry with which we are surrounded or which we seem to place so little priority.

And so I wander down the years acknowledging the clarity of the presence of beauty in stone and star, in bird and flower, in all that lives, in light and shadow, until my days of mortal life have ended and for that I have no regrets.

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