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Beauty in Everything

Text by: Christine Pethel

One summer night, out on a flat headland, all but surrounded by the waters of the bay, the horizons were remote and distant rims on the edge of space. Millions of stars blazed in darkness, and on the far shore a few lights burned in cottages. Otherwise there was no reminder of human life. My companion and I were alone with the stars: the misty river of the Milky Way flowing across the sky, the patterns of the constellations standing out bright and clear, a blazing planet low on the horizon. It occurred to me that if this were a sight that could be seen only once in a century, this little headland would be thronged with spectators. But it can be see many scores of nights in any year, and so the lights burned in the cottages and the inhabitants probably gave not a thought to the beauty overhead; and because they could see it almost any night, perhaps they never will.
-Rachel Carson (American marine biologist and conservationist,
advances in global environment movement, 1907 — 1964)
During this season of spring, how can one's heart not be filled with joy knowing that there is beauty in all that surrounds? From the vibrancy of flowers to the births of baby animals, there is new life and renewed optimism. The sun gifts us by warming our days and bronzing our skin. Our mind is enlightened with thoughts of hope, as we begin to emerge from our winter hibernation with the desire to clean out closets, as well as our souls. Spring brings about beauty, and beauty brings about happiness. It opens up opportunity for innovation... and it can fill our days with perfection.
In every man's heart there is a secret nerve that answers to the vibrations of beauty.
-Christopher Morley, (American journalist, novelist,
essayist and poet, 1890-1957)
© Brittany Knotts

Every morning for two weeks, one of the first things I would do is open my front door to catch a quick glimpse of the pink peony bush that is magnificently waiting for me at the bottom of my steps. Every year, I anxiously wait for this bush to bloom, even if the actual flowers are only open for a mere 14 days.

It would seem a bit curious as to why it is only this plant's blossoms I anticipate to arrive; there are many other things in my yard that are just as beautiful, and also only come around once a year. I have a climbing kiwi vine covering the entire roof of my garage whose leaves begin to also appear at the opening of spring. I can watch the white lilac tree from outside my upstairs, bedroom window produce beautiful, fragrant blossoms overnight. There are tulips and daffodils around my yard that spring up from the ground, and the tall, 8-foot bamboo shoots, and blossoming plum tree that shield my house from the street's view, all come out to greet me during this season.

The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart.
-Helen Keller quotes (American Author and Educator
who was blind and deaf. 1880-1968)
But it is always those bright pink peonies that make me want to crawl out of bed and start my day. Just one glimpse of them makes my heart swoon. Everyday, my ritual is to see which stage of life this bush has entered.
© Brittany Knotts
It catches my breath to see the first, giant, green leaf begin to poke out, a delight especially when compared to the normal, brown, bare branches I have seen for the entire other three seasons. It is because I know that in only a short few weeks, there will be a whole bush of lime green leaves, along with tiny, round buds just waiting to open. And within a week, those tiny buds will open up to allow the petals bound within to unfold into a flower that is mind-bogglingly ten times the size of the bud it grew within.
Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.
-Ashley Smith (Hostage Victim, Author and Speaker)

There are many days when all I want to do is climb into my cocoon of gloom. My daughters tend to do the same thing, and I have seen friends whose only bond was over the injustice and unhappiness they feel they've received in life. I have been known, on occasion, to say to them (and myself), "Well… such is life. You know you do have a choice. You can seek the silver lining, or you can choose the dreary view, but you have to live life. It's your choice whether you want to live it happily— or sadly."

Beauty is simply reality seen with the eyes of love.
© Brittany Knotts

There is beauty in everything, even in the darkest of days and the saddest of times. So what is the silver lining? And what does it mean to choose beauty over darkness?

It means seeing puddles to jump in on a rainy day.

It means spending a little more time holding my son because all he wants to do is read "one more book" instead of going to bed.

It means the chance to buy new shoes when a heel breaks or I step in dog poop.

It means being able to travel the world, instead of dwelling on how much time it's going to take to pack.

It means telling my kids "great things come in small packages," when they are sad that they are shorter than the rest of their class.

And it means more time with loved ones, more time to see the fields of flowers next to the road, and more time to watch the flock of birds making formations in the sky during a surprise bout of stop-and-go traffic.

Be happy while you're living for you're a long time dead.
-Scottish proverb
© Brittany Knotts

I Am Thankful For…

-Author Unknown
I am thankful for...

The teenager who is not doing dishes but watching TV, because that means he/she is at home and not on the streets.

For the taxes that I pay, because it means that I am employed.

For the mess to clean after a party, because it means I have been surrounded by friends.

For the clothes that are a little too snug, because it means I have enough to eat.

For my shadow that watches me work, because it means I am in the sunshine.

For a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning, and gutters that need fixing, because it means I have a home.

For all the complaining I hear about the government, because it means that we have freedom of speech.

For the parking spot I find at the far end of the parking lot, because it means I am capable of walking and that I have been blessed with transportation.

For my huge heating bill, because it means I, am warm.

For the lady behind me in church that sings off key, because it means that I can hear.

For the pile of laundry and ironing, because it means I have clothes to wear.

For weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day, because it means I have been capable of working hard.

For the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours, because it means that I am alive.
© Brittany Knotts

Beauty is an attitude. It's an expression and an action. Seeing it doesn't take talent, it only takes a choice. And BE-ing it is natural. We must simply open our hearts and let joy flow through us. It is then that life is truly beautiful.