Thursday, 20th January, 2011

An Unanswerable Question

A Winter sunset

The word “amazing” is bandied about so much these days – “I saaaw a sparrrer flyin an it wuz amaaaaazin” to use Facebookspeak.

Yet this very morning, I stood in amazement.   It was caused by a sudden reminder of how beautiful this world is.

We need that sort of reminder at times, for we can allow the weight of the world to overcome our natural positivity.

What gave me the reminder was simply looking out of our front-door at just gone seven o’ clock this morning.   There was a scene of outstanding more-or-less natural beauty.

We live opposite the little parish church.   There’s a couple of tall firs in front of it and hawthorn and holly bushes in the small patch of land beside it.

The Moon, big and – I think – full, seemed to perch on the church’s roof, looking at me through the two firs.   Beside the building, the rolling field was white with a heavy frost and, beyond that, the clear sky was becoming lighter over the top of the low ridge.

This was a vision of Fairyland in the soft, blue light of early dawn.

This morning's scene

No noisy, swishing vehicles interrupted my few seconds of quiet revelation.   It was beautiful.

Which brings me to the much-asked question:  “What is beauty?”

It’s said that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”.   Yes, of course:  we must perceive and relate to what we have around us.

But a better question may be “Why is it beautiful?” – for there seem to be no rules to make it so;  only those which go on in the beholder’s mind.

We can appreciate paintings or photographs or a piece of music or a tranquil country scene and find each of them beautiful.   (I even find that same feeling of beauty when wandering down an old street in an industrial town and seeing the buildings where people have lived and worked for a century or more.)   I confess I do not know why I am moved by such things

Perhaps, then, we should not know why we are aware of beauty.   Perhaps we should, and must, simply accept it is so and enjoy the pleasures thereof.

(I was motivated to write this piece by a phone-text I had early this morning from my elder grand-daughter up in Devil’s Bridge, which said:  “This skyline is bloomin’ gorgeous.  The moon is full and pink.   Breath-taking.” Thanks, Ceri.)

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