Monday, May 9, 2016

Achievable Beauty

Well, life seems to have converged into a strange triangulation of happiness, sadness, busy-ness, growth, change, and peace. I guess that's more like a strange hexagulation, but I'm fairly confident that's not a thing. Which would actually be fitting. Because that's kind of how it feels sometimes.

In April I was on my way home from Canada, and while I'd been there, a friend was visiting England. My always-wish-it-was-my-home England. The pictures posted online were breathtaking. Literally breathtaking, and it's hard to believe that places like this exist. And that they are able to be captured. And I laughed at the thought - the thought of my pictures, if I should ever see such beauty. How is it even possible that all the pictures I take seem to indicate that I live in 2D? They're flat and boring, and no where near representative of the beauty that I'm actually taking in.

I was scrolling through the pictures on facebook, and seriously, legitimately, wishing that such prettiness existed where I am. I was driving home from Canada - And I saw something. It wasn't England, or Edinburgh... it wasn't even Colorado or California. It was just plain old Pennsylvania. But it was really beautiful. Not in the obvious way, of course. It wasn't overwhelming. But it was...pretty. It wished I had the skills to capture the beauty contained in the picture of my eyes. Because if I could, you'd see it. I was trying to think of a way to describe it, and the thought came to me...

It's achievable beauty.

When I was a teenager, and interested in the dissection and classification of the prettiness of the world at large - which is fairly ill-advised, but human nature nonetheless - I developed a "system". It was actually more of a revelation as I observed all the faces... It wasn't like a 1 to 10 scale or anything. It was more like a breakdown of the "other worldly" into the realm of the achievable. Hollywood actress on the cover of a magazine? Achievable beauty. Given just a little attention by way of make up, clothing, and confidence, (and a good photographer) anyone would be able to look that good. I was sure of it. These people weren't more naturally beautiful than anyone else, and in some cases, less so. And yet they are admired. It might take a little work, but I saw their beauty was achievable.

And somehow I thought my strange teenage classification system worked better in this broader way. It might not take your breath away. But it probably should. It might be achievable, but that doesn't make it less beautiful. The "other worldly" beauty of the swiss alps or the grand canyon can be appreciated in the smaller scale hill full of back yard variety wildflowers that kids like to roll down. But I've seen Grande Beauty that overwhelms me, and the pretty little hill full of kids isn't it. Or is it?

I bet as life wears on the people of Venice, they somehow don't view their picturesque existence as all that grand. They see the inconvenience, and the old, and wish for something different. But I'd trade places with them, wouldn't I? And I bet to one who's wanted a husband and children, the flower-full hill with messy children would bring tears to the eyes.

I think that as I was driving home from Canada, halfway through the journey in the boring bits of Pennsylvania on April 2nd, I realized - in the heart revelation kind of way - something old, and yet something new. It's an old idea, and one that I am familiar with. But it wasn't mine, not completely. I guess it finally traveled from my head all the way down to my heart, and it settled there on that day. I came to see the beauty. I came to appreciate the beauty that I have, not in the literal sense, but as a picture of life, on the whole. Instead of wishing it was better, different, older, newer, cleaner, brighter, and more picture-perfect. Because it doesn't have to be England. Sometimes it can be Pennsylvania.

To me, Achievable Beauty is a good reminder to look up, and see that all I have is enough - It's not an uglier version of something more beautiful, it IS beauty. It might overwhelm at times, and be slow and steady at others, but it's possible to be wholly immersed in beauty, in a totally "achiveable" way.

While I am completely unsure I am sufficiently translating my heart in to words, I'll have to let it rest there for now, and write more later perhaps. My poor neglected blog is on the not-so-short list of things I love and writing is something that helps me sort out thoughts, and I'd like to do a bit more of that - so I'd like to get back to regular posting, but this is all the time I have for today:-)

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