Sunday, February 12, 2012

"Beauty Lies in the Eye of the Beholder"

Was it Plato or Shakespeare who left us these words of wisdom? Some even say this quote is a variation of a Proverb. Regardless, it's one of my favorite quotes, and I think it applies to many situations in life.

In my case, I got up this morning on beautiful Galveston Island hoping for a sunny day on the beach. Instead the wind howled, the sun refused to appear, and the radio informed me that the current temperature was 36 degrees! So much for my beautiful day, I thought. Maybe I'd just bury myself under the covers and catch up on my sleep.

After a few minutes I quit feeling sorry for myself. After all, folks at home in Wisconsin were shoveling snow. Other parts of the country and the world were struggling with extreme weather. Who was I to complain?

So I decided to quit being a wimp and head out on my daily 3.5 mile hike along the beach. It was difficult at first to head into the wind. Head down, I forced myself to move along. It would be easier heading back home.

As I hiked along, something strange happened. The ugliness of the day began to slip away. The pounding surf thundered and splashed, white froth dancing on the crest of the waves. Dark cloud formations interacted with soft billowy clouds, creating an assortment of animals and objects in the sky. The sun even tried to peak out now and then, casting striking reflections on the world below. Crazy pelicans plopped into the surf as seagulls clustered on the shore. Great photo opportunities!

More importantly, there seems to be something about days like this that bring out one's creativity. You draw inward as you tense up against the wind and cold, going deeper inside to places you've perhaps never been. In my case, I found myself thinking about the novel I'm currently writing - Amelia 1868. Some of the parts I'd been struggling with started to come together.

I began to see the beauty in the ugly parts of life, in the trials and tribulations that we all experience at times.

I'd like to share another example of beauty lying in the eye of the beholder. With Valentine's Day coming up, I'm thinking of a couple I recently saw walking along the seawall. They had to be well into their 70's, perhaps 80. He used a cane. They were wrinkled and gray-haired as older people tend to be and somewhat overweight. Not exactly "beautiful" in the sense that the world unfortunately defines beauty.

But they held hands as they gazed lovingly into each other's eyes. So much in love after all these years. Yes, they'd been married 50 years. He obviously found his wife to be the most beautiful woman in the world. To me, this is true beauty. And I do plan to use this couple in a future novel!

Stay tuned and please stay in touch.

Janet Kay