The Wonder of Discovering Beauty

Beauty Whence Discovered

What ever happened to Beauty? Where does it come from? How do we recognize and keep it? Is beauty created or discovered, or both? What is meant by beauty? What is anyone's definition of beauty? And why not go looking for beauty? That is my quest. The quest for beauty; every day. Bits and pieces of beauty can add up to the whole picture. Beauty can be observed in so many ways, and missed so easily.

So what is beauty. It is that which pleases you. Aesthetically it tells you that it is intrinsically good and true. It could be a sight, a sound, or anything which can be but perceived, and appeals to your sense of right, or happiness, or inner peace. Perhaps it is something which has a sense of 'order'. Perhaps it is only a concept or is merely abstract.

How about the word itself. How many words in the English or French actually have three vowels sequentially aligned. And who can recollect the marvelous way Bert (Dick Van Dyke) describes Mary Poppins (Julie Andrews) as bee-utiful, in the classic movie? In other languages the word sounds great as well: belleza, beautÚ, Sch÷nheit, bellezza, schoonheid, beleza, skj°nnhet. The symbols for beauty in Chinese and Japanese are beautiful. For example, observe the symmetry of the character for beauty: beauty
and a beautiful life:

Hepatica at Duff Park A flower is usually thought of as possessing beauty. Yet how fleeting is a flower. They bloom every year, every season, every week or even every day. But any one flower blossom lasts, to us, such a short while. That beauty comes and goes, but in our memories is stored a lifetime. That beauty we never forget. And many often strive to revive those memories as often as possible. We grow flowers merely for the enjoyment they bring us. Visually striking, flowers are so colorful and radiant. They smell so sweet. When I think of beauty, I often think immediately of flowers. Nature's compact definition of beauty might be the perfect icon for the concept.

But what about sounds. Beauty to hear is more abstract, perhaps, than to see or smell. When one hears music, right away, it starts to suggest beauty. A singing voice may posses more beauty than a simple speaking voice. The variation of tone, in a rhythmic fashion lends some hint of composition which develops into a beautiful sequence. Variation of an atomic theme in a regular pattern tends to be a simplified definition of beauty.

Heavy Snow on Oak Even now as I write these words, I perceive beauty all around me. I occasionally look up from by screen to look out the window. In winter, I see the sun break through the clouds. My peripheral vision detects the change in the scene outside. The light increase immediately distracts my attention, I look up this time to see the sun shining on the bare trees. These trees most would consider beautiful in summer. I find them beautiful all year round. The sunshine bounces off their bark in radiant splendor, turning gray to brown and beaconing me to take a walk amongst them. So now I go, knowing I'll soon return to this task, once the beauty is observed, for now.

Upon return from my walk I am full of ideas. The only problem is: I hope I can remember them all. In time I am confident I will. Briefly, I will condense some of those thoughts here: After having been slightly delayed by the awakening of my 8 year old daughter, I fixed her pancakes for breakfast. This activity brought another source of beauty, selfishly doing for others, because I gain enjoyment from seeing their delight in the receiving. Note I don't say selflessly.

My daughter tells me I'm crazy, and laughs. What a delight.

Now the sun has returned again, bringing me back to my original train of thought. As I embarked on a short walk on a warm winter's day, the first day of the year, I find that the sun has again become obscured by the clouds. Direct sunlight for me has always been a source of pure gladness. With its absence I feel a slight sense of wanting, but now the beauty takes over with my knowledge that it will return. I distribute pieces of bread for the birds and deer, again rejoicing in my doing for others, and proceed on my walk.

The trail is damp and wet, but feels good under foot. I walk between a patch of clubmoss, a beautiful source of green on an otherwise gray and brown day. The terrain is hilly and wooded, just like I like it. Aha, the sun returns this soon, as if it were a passing hole in the clouds, floating slowly across the adjoining side of the ridge I traverse, across a row of white pine trees, generously illuminating the woods with a radiant glow, sharpening the aspects of the trees and casting shadows across the ground, with parallel lines converging upon infinity. And when that hole in the clouds has passed, I see the light too pan down the ridge and off into the distance across a field then out of my sight, only to have another return soon to recreate the entire animated display as if just for me.

Chickadee A huge oak tree, long since living, had previously fallen across my trail, and I know to get around it I have to stray up a steep embankment and around the large area of fallen sticks and trees which were taken down as well. Yet in this divergence I find beauty in thinking of the ways I can re-route my trail. At the top I stop to observe more of what's around me. Standing perfectly still I hear a bluejay squawking loudly, and the calls of a chickadee and a nuthatch. Even in winter the beautiful sounds of nature never fail to enchant.

Now I feel a cool breeze blowing softly across my cheeks, and smell the freshness in the air. I make note to add two more perceptions to my catalogue of sensations. Is it beautiful to feel a fresh breeze on one's skin? When sitting at a desk doing one's work, or inside one's home, is it not a gentle diversion to imagine oneself with a pure invigorating draft of the clean fluid we call air? I take one more deep breath and continue on with my quest for beauty, hoping not to miss a single bit of it.
White Tailed Deer by Cary Bohl

Soon I glance up, again alerted by a subtle movement acknowledged by my peripheral vision, to see first one then multiple deer bounding through a group of hemlock trees across the valley. The most charming aspect of a deer is its exquisite white tail extended to the sky as it leaps away. In my mind I wonder why the deer dislike me so, they always run away when I approach, but my heart tells me that this is only their instinct. So even the running away of deer brings beauty to me. If deer never ran away I'd hardly ever see those beautiful white tails. So I take comfort in knowing that their instinctual fear of man will always deliver to my eyes a beautiful sight.

I now hear a hawk in the distance, toward the edge of the field. I note that the other bird sounds have disappeared. How do I find beauty in this knowledge. At first I try to make an instant correlation: is it the arrival of a hawk that makes the other birds grow quiet? Is there a statistical connection to this event? Or am I trying to bring beauty to the data by making a rule in my mind which might not exist? Is there beauty in extrapolating data that my senses have perceived? Does my mind find harmony in cataloging all things in a way to fit defined patterns or rules? Can there also be beauty in realizing that things may just simply be coincidence? Is it Correlation or Coincidence?

There are two realities, the real reality, and the model in one's mind of that reality. Trying to keep these two in synchronism is often a feat replete with beauty. And sometimes its beautiful to forget all our rules and preconceived notions and simply see the world through a child's eyes.

Aha. Now I find I have forgotten a few of the topics I was going to write about. They are still there, I am sure, but I just can't find the link to them which lets me bring those thoughts to the surface of my consciousness. I find that at times I store things in memory in a graphical manner. So on my walk, at each juncture or feature, I had a certain topic I wanted to discuss. For the first part of my trip I have been able to recall each of those items. For instance, at hemlocks I recalled the deer; at the juncture of two streams at the halfway point of my trail I recollected the sound of the hawk, and the point I wanted to make about coincidence versus correlation. The next stop on my journey through the woods I have a cognitive point of association which has become temporarily disconnected. At this place I now search my memory for the topic I wanted to discuss. I visualize the aspects of this locale. There is a fallen tulip poplar tree which I walk upon, as if it were part of the trail. Waterfall in creek There are wild grape vines stretched in triangular fashion because of the falling of this tree. There is beyond that a creek with several tiny waterfalls. Most would not call them waterfalls, as they are only about 6 inches tall.

The waterfalls brings back one of my notions to portray: Imagination. Would most people find beauty in a babbling brook or creek: yes. Would they imagine a portion of that creek to be a waterfall: likely no, but hopefully yes. It is with imagination that we can mould alluring bits of nature into grand canyons of beauty. And not just nature per se, but with anything we can think of. Building beauty where it may not readily be seen is fitting endeavor for anyone. Make beauty.

One way to make beauty is with photography or art. What does a picture or painting give you. A snapshot frozen in time of beauty. In real time one sees beauty, but it is hardly ever frozen to be viewed by many for more than a passing instant. Usually once you have passed it by, you have only your memory to keep it. With a picture or painting it is preserved and can be viewed in a context which freezes that beautiful thought for all. It goes back to the notion that there is a model of reality. The picture fills in as the model in an 'external to the mind' extension.

There is beauty in truth.

The truth is simple. Simplicity is beautiful. Anything but the truth forms artificial complexity. Nature can be sometimes be complex, but in that complexity there tends to be a whole form composed of simpler forms. White Trillium

There is beauty in humour.

Watch a person laughing. They tend to be jubilant with their jocularity. With humour we become filled with a renewed buoyance which seems to instantly brighten our nature and bring healthy exuberance. When I hear someone instantly burst out laughing, even if I don't see the humour or get the joke, I nevertheless instantly feel a beautiful joy which brings a smile to my face.

There is beauty in grace.

Grace has always been, to me, one of those great words which have always had a somewhat fuzzy definition. I sort-of get what it means, but I always have to refer back to the dictionary definition to fully jog my memory. From
grace   n.

   1. Seemingly effortless beauty or charm of movement, form, or proportion.
   2. A characteristic or quality pleasing for its charm or refinement.
   3. A sense of fitness or propriety.
         1. A disposition to be generous or helpful; goodwill.
         2. Mercy; clemency.
   5. A favor rendered by one who need not do so; indulgence.
   6. A temporary immunity or exemption; a reprieve.
   7. Graces Greek & Roman Mythology. Three sister goddesses, known in Greek
      mythology as Aglaia, Euphrosyne, and Thalia, who dispense charm and beauty.
         1. Divine love and protection bestowed freely on people.
         2. The state of being protected or sanctified by the favor of God.
         3. An excellence or power granted by God.
   9. A short prayer of blessing or thanksgiving said before or after a meal.
  10. Grace Used with His, Her, or Your as a title and form of address
      for a duke, duchess, or archbishop.
  11. Music. An appoggiatura, trill, or other musical ornanment in the
      music of 16th and 17th century England. 

Buhl Planetarium and Old Post Office, North Side of Pittsburgh

Memories can be beautiful.

I have some great memories of walks I took when I worked on the North Side of Pittsburgh. I would walk over past the Carnegie Library, then past the old Buhl Planetarium, and finally past the old Post Office Building, which is now the Children's Museum. I simply love the architecture of those old buildings. The planetarium has quotes inscribed, as if chiseled, on the sides of the building. One quote from the bible is still visible, although slightly obscured by the new interconnecting modern building which is part of the new Children's Museum complex; "There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differeth from another star in glory." I had been reading that quote all the time, over and over, and every time I read it I always thought it was beautiful. With memories and imagination, a quote like that brings forth glorious images of the cosmos.

Sometimes I would walk further on past the beautiful old Roman Catholic Church and on to West Park which encompasses the National Aviary. The trees of this park are all grand and majestic. Many of them have labels on them, like elm, beech and locust. I often would look for a chestnut tree, but found none. The aviary building is mostly glass and I like walking by it to see the birds which they keep fenced in along the outside. Of particular interest was always the Andean Condors, there are three very large and beautiful birds there year round.

At my new work location next to Mellon Park near Shadyside I also like to refresh my memory with lunchtime walks. Anytime I go I always think it is a refreshing day for a walk, and wonder why I don't go more often. One day I encountered flocks of black birds (I'm not sure if they were 'blackbirds') flying in formation from tree to tree. I risked looking directly up at them as they did their aerial circular/elliptical formations from tree to tree. Front door of Mount Saint Peter Church, New Kensington PA Then I went across Penn to the old Herb garden which was part of the old Mellon Mansion. In the 1940's, the mansion was taken down and most of the marble and ornate materials were salvaged and donated for use in the construction of a beautiful church called Mount Saint Peter in New Kensington. The preservation of beauty was made possible in this instance by the generous donation and use of these materials to build a divine church.

At the herb and rose garden I paused to observe and sense the beauty around me. I think there is beauty even in winter. The herbs from that garden are wonderful to see. The air was so fresh, and the aroma of the remaining herbs like the lavender, and there was sage as well, was exquisite! My nose told me of the presence of the lavender without even seeing it.

Travel to new places can be beautiful.

Around 1981, when I was 22 years young, I went with a friend to Europe. He was originally from Romania, and so we went there too. At the time they were behind the iron curtain. We arrived at the border after a pleasant trip through Hungary at around Midnight. They detained us there at the border for about 3 hours, prior to finally accepting our previously obtained visas and letting us proceed into the country. For a young fellow like myself, at the time, it was a really scary experience, but one that I would not have passed up. Most of those long hours I spent in the car, alone, waiting, and wondering what the heck kind of dilemma we had driven ourselves into. Most of that time my companion, Simon, was not in the car with me, although he would return occasionally to grab something out of his backpack. Most of the time he was in the station doing his 'wheeling and dealing' and whatever else he had to do to get us in. I found out afterwards, that in communist countries, you have to grease the wheel to get anything done. Apparently bribery was not frowned upon as heavily as it was and is in our country. He had to bribe the border guards into letting us in. I don't recall what all he gave them, but I do remember that one item was a nice pen that had an LCD clock built into it. Apparently they had never seen anything quite like that before, and apparently he came prepared for this eventuality. He was older and wiser than I. The other truly frightening aspect was that we could actually literally see the huge fence that was the border. It was just as you see in those movies, with huge towers with armed guards on top of them. Of course one knew that under normal circumstances they would not bother you, but still one would get the chilling sense of foreboding that this was not the kind of situation one would like to encounter too often. Try to imagine how intimidating this would be, to see these guards with their machine guns in person, and to be detained in the wee hours of the night for such a long period of time.

The country itself was quite charming, once we got in. And there were plenty of beautiful natural scenes which I did enjoy at the time. But what about the beauty of the one story I recall the most. At the time I might not have considered that particular part of the trip to be full of glory. But today I would characterize this as a great travel experience because it makes a great story, and for that reason I suppose I have remembered it best. So one does not always see the beauty at the time one encounters it. It may take hindsight to ascribe it as such.

There are a few other stories of Romania which comes back vividly to my mind. Traveling with a companion who is from the country you are visiting certainly has its advantages, you see and hear things you wouldn't normally experience otherwise. I was told by Simon and all of his former pals, back in his hometown of Timisoara, that in Communist countries, the biggest problem for many of the people was boredom. Communism did indeed provide for most people, but limited most. So it wasn't strictly survival that was the problem. There was little ownership, so everyone was either on a farm or in an apartment. There existed little incentive to do better, because there was no reward for it. They all thought that the most wonderful thing of all about America is capitalism. It was refreshing to hear them say that. They all envied us because of our liberties. They envied our opportunities to work and be rewarded for that work. This is one other reason, they told me, why people drink so much under that political system, because if there is no incentive, and there is depression and the like. There also was no environmentalism because there was no wealth, and thus the environment in those countries is in much worse shape than our own.

Then there was the lost weekend. This story also happened in the country of Romania on the same trip. My friend Simon went to visit an old friend to reminisce, and left me with a friend of his who did not speak English. So his friend wants to show off his local town to the 'American'. He didn't speak much English. And of course I didn't speak any Romanian. We ended up buying a bottle of vodka, went to a college and ended up in a girl's dorm. After finishing off the bottle the next thing I knew is we awoke in the dorm with the headmistress screaming at us and we high tailed it out of there. Nothing happened. That's it in a nutshell. Nothing to be proud of but quite humourous. I was quite naive and went wherever I was lead. Simon's friend was obviously having fun with the naive American. Simon of course was worried sick because we were supposed to meet later that night, not the next day. I had the car. He told me he imagined I was locked up in some prison somewhere being interrogated by the communists. Does this story have quite the 'beauty'? It may not be fraught with beauty, but the story itself is quite interesting.

A beautiful day

Clouds over Murrysville How often does one ever have a beautiful day. To get up in the morning, feeling great, to travel through your day enjoying every aspect and feature the day serves up, and to put the day to bed with equal joy, would be one possible characterization of a beautiful day. With such a definition, however, one might allow slight deviations in parts of their day to hinder the entire notion. Depending on your outlook, one might translate the day as being beautiful, good, or bad, simply based on the turning of a few critical moments at some point along the way. Is the glass half full or half empty. This is the kind of metric which can be applied to a day as well. If one considers the most beautiful semblances encountered in a day and combines them together into an abridged package, a superb amalgamation is the result.

It's not always easy to simply take this advice and represent a day as only the best pieces tied up in a knot. Sometimes one has to make a few good pieces for themselves. Don't just sit around and take too much of the bad part of a day, without trying to consider the good or if drastic measures are needed, find the good somewhere else. Get out of your environment, and go somewhere else for a while, just to give your day a piece of beauty. And don't forget, its all around you, only for you to find it. "Beauty to find in so many ways, if we could but perceive."

Walking the Dog

While exiting the building where I work yesterday, on an otherwise gray and dreary day, I happened to look up and across the avenue to view a strikingly blond woman in a pink coat and brown gloves walking what looked to be a golden retriever. The beautiful large brown dog chose that exact moment to run along the sidewalk extending the modern leash with perhaps three times its body weight with a full-power lunge. Even with the long-line retracting leash, the lung yanked her arm taunt and body forward, and she hopped a step or two in conclusion to the maneuver initiated by her leader. My next glance revealed the dog stooping to do what was perhaps the reason for the walk, and the blond trudging gingerly through the wet layer of snow laid three days before. She was applying a layer of plastic to her hand, and her shoulder length blond hair was flopping about her face. That was my last glimpse, and I could only assume the rest. A few minutes later when my shuttle drove by they were gone, but I was busy thinking of how to write up the encounter, because it brightened my day, and deserved a mention.

Now, to me, it seems quite an interesting coincidence that I just happened to exit the building at just that instant, and look up at just the moment the dog chose to make a dash for his favorite spot. The beauty of his motion, caught by my eye for only an instant, but persisted in my short term memory, and combined with a thousand other similar memories to produce a long term mnemonic. Instant anticipation that the girl would be effected by the charge gushed forth via processes of my mind. The line went taunt, her arm went straight, and her body lurched after a momentary latent period causing her to regain her balance. Certain aspects of this scene somehow allow me to replay it in my mind's eye in slow motion with glad introspection.

By observing this event, have I affected its course, perhaps in some subtle and unobvious way. The simple and immediate observation which took place as it happened, for a period of about 30 seconds, and even while I continued on my way down the opposite side of the avenue, seemed to have no impact at all. I did not even see the girl look across at me, I wasn't that near, and her attention was quite absorbed with her task at hand. Some might view the encounter as a situation fraught with possibilities. Others would only view it with little regard and quickly move along. I, however, found beauty in style, form, substance, motion, action, interaction, and physics; to me the measure of the situation was the degree to which it was fraught with beauty. So if I made no perceivable dent in the scene as it occurred, perhaps through my contemplation and discourse I have or will some day influence some facet of this affair, either directly or indirectly.

Several weeks passed without further notice. Then one morning, as I arrived oh-so early for work I viewed them again. Several things had changed: it was night rather than day; the girl was wearing a dark rather than pink coat; she wore pajama bottoms below the coat, and didn't seem the least bit embarrassed by the myriad of cars which drove by; the dog and the physics remained the same. In fact, I almost didn't recognize them this time round, because of the change in style, but the dog was the key, his color and his leap with almost as much reckless abandon proclaimed their true identity. I stopped by my building to observe his return to the same spot, completing his daily ritual. In this scene some of the original style was unclothed, but the substance remained.

Moon over Murrysville


Is beauty a fad to be resurrected at the turn-of-the-century, or like a style, be in at one time, and out at another? I think it is more likely that beauty is timeless. Beauty might have its detractors, but it is also absolute, and exists in spite of all that. Anyone can recognize beauty, but who is devoted to creating beauty? If a dictator can recognize beauty, but leaves a horrible legacy then the detractors say "see". They perhaps don't grasp that all beauty exists and should be appreciated fully. If a person who has become evil sees beauty as beautiful, that does not make it any less beautiful. But beauty transcends more than all that. History may have lessons both good and bad. I think perhaps that some see beauty, but because they cannot posses it they try to ruin it for others. That's too bad. The next best thing to creating beauty is to conserve it, and to share it. But we have to avoid destroying it. We call them evil who destroy it consciously and directly. But it can be eroded less consciously and indirectly as well. In that respect perhaps most if not all of us are blameworthy to some degree. But it is never too late to recognize, appreciate, preserve and create beauty.

Look up: Sycamore trees in winter

Sycamore tree at Duff Park How many people get depressed or sad in winter because of the weather and conditions outside? What are you missing. You are missing the beauty that still exists out there, but is harder to grasp. It may be cold, colourless and drab, but there is beauty there, nevertheless, and alwaysthemore. Just look at the Sycamore trees, if you have them near you. All of the rest of the trees I would still characterize as beautiful, even in winter, but the Sycamore trees out shine them all. You just can't deny it. They have lost their giant leaves, which aren't necessarily the nicest of leaves, so in summer if you were a sycamore tree you might feel inferior. But in winter it is now your time to shine. The other trees are sort of a dull drab gray or brown, but the sycamores have a beautiful white bark, especially as you ascend the trunk to the upper places. Just look up. Perhaps if you walk all day just looking at your feet, which if you are walking in the woods might be good advice, so that you don't trip over a root or fallen branch, but you must resist that urge and look up at some of that beauty just above you. Whoever endowed you with two sharp eyes to perceive perhaps left out maybe one more to look skyward. But seriously the times I find myself looking up, especially at nature, are the most joyous. The white bark of the sycamore is a great sight to see in winter, so go see it. I've tried to photograph it, and that looks nice, but without the effect of walking around or even driving by one of these great trees, you don't get the full effect. In Pittsburgh old sycamores line many of the roads, but the younger ones in the parks and woods outshine these and deserve a look. One of these days I'll find a way to ascend one of these great beauties to try to get a close up photo of the white bark, just to see how that would turn out.

Snow White

I have seen beauty, and sometimes it takes the form of snow white. This kind of beauty is hard to photograph, as it is either moving all about in a storm, or gleaming in the reflected light. It often takes the form of movement and the sounds of the wind blowing in fits and puffs, first one direction, then another, alternating in irregular radii; and often, for a moment, seems to stand still. The snow betrays the unseen nature of the cold air; between the sounds of the wind and the observations of the snow, one beholds a certain visual nature of the fluid all around. Like an engineer's scientific experiment, the air is laden with regularly placed markers which, if observed and recorded, could tell the dynamics of the fluid known as air. No longer merely invisible, felt on the cheeks and now suddenly seen.

Often I would sit and observe the blowing snow illuminated by a lamp post in the early hours of the morning. Sitting back and listening to a Mozart Symphony in my car, I would simply enjoy the dancing particles going back and forth in the beam up above my position. How long would one partake in such an activity, occupying the senses with these simple aspects which are beautiful.(?) Often people are in too much of a hurry to do so, they glance at the sight, but exit the car and go in to work, having missed a chance to burn a more lasting impression of a marvelous chunk of beauty. What else is life worth living for?

One Truly Splendid Slice of Beauty

As I was writing my 'Ode to Beauty' (it keeps changing names) I was often thinking of including another aspect of beauty I have previously omitted. I tried to keep it 'above board' for a general audience. But without including the utmost irresistibly indelibly joyful facet yet not revealed, I'm cheating everyone of the one truly splendid slice of beauty which ought not be overlooked, lest one might have not spoken of beauty at all and not done it justice. My google email server is just swimming in emails where I've touched upon this subject again and again, in subtle and coy flirtatious manners which transcend the general and target the specific feelings which gather momentum from the true meaning of that underlying radius of beauty. The radius might just encompass 360 degrees of the whole when considered. Sum up all of the aspects one might think of when considering beauty, and one might not yet have a sum total which comes close to the feelings of beauty elicited by this heretofore unmentioned expression of beauty. The countenance and bearing of the form of beauty comes from abstract feelings felt deeply yet concrete in their effect on my behaviour when I am under its spell. And the three hundred and sixty degrees of influence this infectious affect has over me is only described in two dimensions as complete, yet one has to go into three and four dimensions to fully understand the true influence it has. A circle becomes a sphere, and the sphere in time revolves around from an initial infatuation of a youngster into a full fledged powerful emotion not unlike passion described by ardent love.

So how best to articulate this characteristic of beauty? It's hard to put down in so many words. The previous paragraph simply flowed from my mind through my fingers into words almost effortlessly. But now I must pause to organize my thoughts more succinctly to provide an artful expression. What semblance of beauty is felt so deeply, and at the same time is so difficult to describe. It has two parts. One is the feeling itself; and the harder part to proclaim is the revelation divulging the condition. It is affection. Synonyms include amore, ardor, attraction, attachment, care, closeness, concern, crush, desire, devotion, emotion, endearment, feeling, fondness, friendliness, friendship, good will, hankering, heart, inclination, itch, kindness, liking, love, passion, predilection, propensity, regard, sentiment, shine, soft spot, solicitude, tenderness, warmth, weakness, yen, and zeal.

And zeal is what I've had. Enthusiastic devotion to a cause, ideal, or goal and tireless diligence in its furtherance. Yet patience with pleasant and steady happy friendly un-expectancy. Never pushing more than a subtle word and relishing only in a knowledge of mutual simpatico smiling subtleties known or unknown, yet felt deliciously.

And the whole world of first impressions stemming from this proclamation often leads the hearer to retreat from its source. Only a friendly exuberant impression is intended, yet sometimes the opposite reaction arises. But the truly nice counterpoised response is to embrace the knowledge in no more nor less a fashion as would be the response without having gained said information. Accept it in a vacuum, as one would simply have greeted a new friend, without mistrust of intentions. Giving joyous welcome with little uncertain doubt would be beautiful.

But this is the ideal. And I have been lucky enough to have seen it: once.

And so that none feel I'm the first to ever visit this subject, refer to a beautiful poem "Ode To Beauty," by Ralph Waldo Emerson, which begins:
Who gave thee, O Beauty!
The keys of this breast


Sometimes beauty takes the form of spring! Spring has finally sprung, and now I've been spending more of my time riding my bike, in long country hours, and photographing splendid scenes in nature. There becomes, under these nice conditions, less time for writing...

-Douglas A. Bauman, 2005