Wednesday, October 31, 2012

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

We're at the end of the month,
All Hallow's Eve,
and fall is definitely in the air.
We lose the light this next weekend
and I, for one, will miss the longer afternoons.
Living in a Mediterranean climate,
the signs of fall are more subtle than
in many parts of this great country.
You see it in the changing angle of the light,
you see it on country drives,
as hay is harvested and rolled.
You see it in the bigness of sky,
the sharp horizon line, unmuddied by summer fog
lying just off shore.
Around our home, you see fall in some of our trees.
The birches, just outside the front door, 
turn golden,
shimmering and shaking 
their heart-shaped leaves
in the afternoon breeze.
And you see it in the gingko tree,
that ancient traveler across time,
found in fossil form
around the globe,
its fan-shaped leaf distinctive
and lovely.
Our tree is misshapen and not large,
but its leaves are magnificent,
whether on the tree or off.
The birds love it either way.
We have a small, octagonal window with beveled glass,
one that we salvaged when we added onto this house 
about ten years ago.
We placed it at the peak of the high ceiling in
our bedroom,
where I can look up and out
as I wake each morning.
The gingko branches against the sky
tell me what season we're in.
I love that.
Bare branches in winter,
nodules bursting into chartreuse in spring,
deepening, thickly-covered branches in summer,
and bright, bright yellow in fall.
As they fall from the tree,
I find them in the nooks and crannies of our yard 
and I marvel.
They die every year.
To make room for new life.
And they scatter themselves everywhere,
in one last hurrah.
I was here!
LOOK at me.
And I do.
I do.

I am a beauty-hunter,
seeking always for evidence
of love and hope and joy
in the world around me.
A friend had this quote on his blog 
last week and it has stuck with me
ever since.
"As soon as beauty is sought not from religion and love,
but for pleasure, it degrades the seeker."
- Annie Dillard
But here's what I believe:
if we seek to find beauty around us
because we are indeed 
looking for signs of the Source
of that Beauty,
then we will also find pleasure.
I believe that.
Pleasure is not the goal,
but it is the by-product,
the glorious gifted by-product. 
And in exactly that way,
we are saved by beauty.

Thank you, Lord.

This has been a challenging month on many levels, but I have enjoyed looking for beauty each and every day. I will join this last post in the 31-Day Challenge with Jennifer, Duane, Ann and Emily on this Wednesday and Thursday: