Thursday, October 25, 2012

31 Days in which I Am Saved by Beauty - Day 25

This has been a physically and emotionally taxing week.
I spent 7 hours on Monday and 7 hours on Tuesday,
in a very nice, but very small car with two friends,
driving up and down this state. 

While I was away from home,
a personal post of mine, written for another site,
showed up at the same time as
a post with a different point of view
was playing right next door -
on the same site. 

The discussion that ensued online
was rich, but often difficult
and sometimes very painful
on several counts. 

While I sometimes agreed with
the position being argued by the more strident
voices, I was strongly against the tone of
those arguments and wondered if we could
learn to talk civilly about it - ever. 
Today, for some reason, I feel less hopeful about that
than I did two days ago. 

I'm not sure why.

Maybe because I've got a lousy cold.
Maybe because my husband flew to Chicago
for two days of meetings this morning.
Maybe because someone I love is ill. 
Maybe because as I sat at the beach today,
puzzled by the presence of FOUR Highway Patrol vehicles,
I was stunned to see a coroner's van pull up,
and watched in shock and dismay
as the body of a man about my age
was forcibly pulled out of his small Honda CR-V.
I prayed for him and his family as I watched.
And I wondered how he selected the wording
of his license plate, which read MESA LVR.*
He had blonde/white hair and nice-looking slacks,
and he apparently died while sitting in his car,
admiring the view. 
I suppose there are worse ways to die,
but still. It was sobering.

So, for whatever reason, I find myself feeling 
pensive tonight.

While in this lack-luster mood,
I flashed through a few of the photographs
I took out the window of that small car on Tuesday.
I shot these pictures through the windshield
as we drove back home, into the setting sun,
following a blustery rainstorm the previous day. 

And as I looked at them, I was reminded again
that beauty stirs my soul like nothing else.
I was also reminded that even a difficult, painful week
can be at least partially redeemed by
the beauty of the ordinary,
the everyday glory of
the sky, the hills,
the vineyards, the trees, 
the beauty around me.

So -- for today, for tonight, 
here are some reminders --
for me and for you --
of found beauty,
even in the middle of
of tough and tiring times.
Except for the pictures of fall color (which were taken at an In 'n' Out, where we took a bathroom and cold drink break), all of these pictures were shot through the front or side window of a Volvo sedan going about 70mph. And they leave me speechless tonight. Thank you, Lord, for glimpses of glory all along the way. 

*The Mesa is a Santa Barbara neighborhood across town, situated on the bluffs overlooking the harbor.