Finding beauty when I don’t see it

Lady's Mantle

Lady’s Mantle

Most women surround themselves with beauty of one sort or another. I love cut flowers, lovely fabrics, and anything that grows outdoors.

One of the tragedies of poverty is the tossing aside of beauty for pure utility. I argue that beauty begins inside, and those, poor or rich, who do not understand beauty or enjoy it are missing this internal characteristic.

Poverty can exist beyond finances, you know. I know some people who exude poverty from their very pores. Extreme frugality is rooted in poverty of spirit.

Where there is poverty of spirit, there is no beauty. It just isn’t possible.

I woke up this morning in a fog due to not enough sleep. It is gorgeous outside and I am not enjoying it; I barely see it. First assumption is that I must be depressed. There might be a bit of that. But which came first: the chicken or the egg? Am I depressed because I see no beauty in my life or is depression causing beauty to elude me?

I am exhausted. Coffee isn’t even doing what it usually does to get me jump-started in the mornings. And I cannot drink more coffee. I am struggling physically.

I am reminded of a House episode I saw last week. A woman had received a cornea transplant five years previous to being brought in to the hospital; it was discovered that the donor must have had some kind of disease that was killing off recipients one by one. That’s not the point here.

This woman, played by Felicia Day, had been an architect pre-transplant, but had changed careers after the transplant, becoming a teacher. She described how the world was an ugly place; there was nothing beautiful to see or contribute to (architecture). House, as only House can do, had an idea that somehow her brain was preventing her from experiencing beauty. There was a grey filter in her brain that kept her from seeing the world in full, brilliant color. She was not depressed. It was a physical issue in her brain. House ordered brain surgery and this woman’s world was changed: she saw the world in all its brilliance.

I suspect that those people who don’t see beauty have something going on in their brains (or not going on). And it kind of scares me that I am not seeing beauty during a time when New England is exploding in color.

So I made a decision this morning. Just like I had lost the ability to read a paragraph and comprehend it at one point in my illness, I think the beauty part of me is at risk and I must fight to keep it. This means exercising the beauty area of my brain.

I will need to force myself to go outside, caress a flower petal, capture it with my camera, and share it with the world as beauty. While I feel as though I a fighting for my life, I must literally stop and smell the roses. I must start knitting again. I need to finish that sewing project for my daughter-in-law. I need to create beauty while enjoying beauty.

If I give up, I will lose something of myself. This is how it happens, you know. And I don’t just mean those who suffer from degenerative illnesses. I mean women, especially, though it can certainly happen to men — it’s called giving up — allow small parts of themselves to die as a sacrifice for the greater good of the family, a marriage, their children, even their jobs. They give up over and over again, until what they possessed is gone.

I don’t feel beauty. I am not really seeing beauty. But I know that the world outside is just as beautiful as it was last year this time. I know it is me, and I refuse to give that part of me up, even to a disease. I am not powerless. I am not weak. I love beauty, and I will find a way to revive what seems to be barely flickering inside of me. I will find that little flame and feed it. I will protect it and encourage it to grow larger until it is so large that the ugliness of my life is pushed back into the shadows by beauty. Yep, that’s what I’m going to do.

Happy spring, everyone! I’m going outside to take photos of spring in my yard. Enjoy!



Red maple leafing out

Red maple leafing out

Blueberry buds

Blueberry buds

White pine

White pine

Squirrel nest in a red maple

Squirrel nest in a red maple

3 responses »

  1. I hope that you can get outside at least three times a day for a few minutes each. Some regularly scheduled doses of beauty might help you to see it again. I’m sending you lots of positive energy Michele!


    • I made myself go outside today with my camera. I took my camera to campus with me as well. I stopped on my way home from picking up my son from track and had capture some more shots because I am seeing the beauty, at least for now. I guess I needed an attitude adjustment. Thanks for the positive energy! I think I felt it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Love the pictures as usual…beautiful. You most definately have an eye for beauty. You see it through the camera lens. I know getting out helps you and the knitting. Find a lil time michele for the things you love.


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