Beautiful Things

Jackson Lake 3 cropped 2Recently, I subscribed to an internet program that is supposed to help with relaxation and meditation, using images of nature accompanied by peaceful music. Lots of flutes. I like to listen while I work; it cuts the silences of working from home.

I was reading one day, listening, glancing up occasionally to see what beautiful thing was on. Suddenly I felt sad, but I wasn’t sure why.  After a while, I realized that I was sad because I would never actually see the beautiful things that were on the screen. Except on a screen. I may never visit a beach in Thailand at sunset, or the Alps at sunrise. Because of time. Because of distance. Because of money. Because of age or health. It is world of beautiful things but our time here is short and for most of us our resources are limited.

And then I thought, yet here I am now seeing these things on television at least. That is seeing of a kind. Some of them I might have guessed at their existence. But many I would likely never have known about, except for this seeing. And if the images in this program are beautiful, there are many more beautiful images, stunning and extraordinary and strange, shown on TV and the Internet these days, on channels dedicated to them.

And not just natural beauty. Art is more accessible than ever before. Major museums are putting images of masterpieces within the reach of everyone at a click or two. And music also. Sites stream Bach and Mozart, Schubert and Prokofiev (my personal favorite), and so many more, many I have never heard of. Fifty years ago― no make that one hundred years ago, I forget how old I am―you would have had to attend a concert in Oslo or Vienna or New York to hear them.

This is a miraculous age of beautiful things, offered to us wherever we turn. I’m sure that they are more beautiful to experience in person. I would rather see them from a concert in Oslo, an evening at the Met in New York, or flying over the Alps at sunrise (okay, I might have to close my eyes at that one).

But even in seeing them in this removed way, they are still beautiful. And I can see more of them this way than I could possibly see in a lifetime. That’s a gift, and something to be grateful for.

Comments 1

 
Rosy Cole on Monday, 12 April 2021 17:28

It's true, you can see more of them, and if paintings, details at closer and clearer quarters, at your own leisure, than are likely to strike in a gallery, awe-inspiring though such occasions are. Atmosphere is the important thing accompanying all experience, an orienting thing, and that can be encountered through media into which we project our own imagination and emotions. Avid readers of books know this well. As the years accumulate, we gain a finer eye and a more warmly tuned heart for the myriad of small daily joys accessible to us so that the soul is not in famine and the spirit is quickened. The reality is that, under any circumstances, our journey is an interior one, the spoils of mining the rocky outward landscape. Otherwise, we would not create or need culture.

Thanks for a beautiful post!

It's true, you [i]can[/i] see more of them, and if paintings, details at closer and clearer quarters, at your own leisure, than are likely to strike in a gallery, awe-inspiring though such occasions are. Atmosphere is the important thing accompanying all experience, an orienting thing, and that can be encountered through media into which we project our own imagination and emotions. Avid readers of books know this well. As the years accumulate, we gain a finer eye and a more warmly tuned heart for the myriad of small daily joys accessible to us so that the soul is not in famine and the spirit is quickened. The [i]reality[/i] is that, under any circumstances, our journey is an interior one, the spoils of mining the rocky outward landscape. Otherwise, we would not create or need culture. Thanks for a beautiful post!
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