Hungering for Beauty

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I forgot how much beauty restores the soul.

I’ve just returned from spending several days with friends on the West Coast. I feel like my heart has been defibrillated by the sights, sounds and smells of beauty that is on the coast and has woken up restored and refreshed. I have energy and enthusiasm for the upcoming fall schedule, and a bounce in my step that feels fresh. I found a chorus of a Steve Bell song echoing in my head repeatedly over the course of the trip:

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Please don’t think I don’t find the prairies beautiful with the waving oceans of crops, the incredibly sandy beaches of Lake Winnipeg, and the humid forest of Assiniboine Park. They are some of my favorite places, but familiarity can numb one to the beauty inherent close by.

But this week, the beauty surrounding me took my breath away, not once, but many times daily.

a view of clouds provides valuable perspective to a soul

The ocean, spanning as far as the eye can see reminding me of the vastness of the world that is beyond me, recapturing a truer perspective of my place in the world.

clouds refresh the soul

The sunbeams, breaking through the threatening clouds, sent sunbeams cascading down.

a forest pathway provides perspective and restores the soul in a way only beauty can energize

The green verdant environment surround me on this path smelled wonderful, and changed constantly by the dappling of the sun and the shadows.

Beauty of a sun beam restores the soul.

a water fall inspires the soul to realign itself

The water falling, creating natural music surrounded by lush greenery that could make my heart swell in pleasure

Counselling provides valuable perspective by rediscovering beauty

rippling waters remind us of perspective, beauty

The ocean vista provides a perspective of size that restores the soul.

The mountains–pretty in a picture, but breathtaking when spanning the horizon from one side to the other.

Beach shells are beautiful, restoring the soul.

As I was crossing over to the Island on the ferry, or lunching on a sundeck, or hiking through a forest, or running on the seawall around Stanley Park, I found myself saying, “Wow” over and over, in hushed, holy ways, or thrilled, exciting ways, or laughing, joyful ways. Watching the tide go out, with tiny crabs, little fish, and miscellaneous other squirming things making the receding textured beach alive with life. The flowers, here, there, and everywhere–entire bushes of incredible blooms. I could go on, but by now you’ve captured the excitement I feel, and I may even be boring you by this point–because you weren’t there, and couldn’t feel how wonderful it was. Pictures don’t really do justice. Beautiful sights, sounds and smells.

Wow.

And then I had the chance to visit a number of outdoor weekend markets and art shows, as local island artists showed their wares…pottery, jewelry, paintings–often reflecting the nature around it. And I was reminded:

In the creative state a man is taken out of himself. He lets down as it were a bucket into his subconscious, and draws up something which is normally beyond his reach. He mixes this thing with his normal experiences and out of the mixture he makes a work of art.

There is something in us that is drawn to beauty, recognizes it and it restores the soul. It speaks to us at a level that is beyond words (“wow” seems pathetic, but so do all the other words I might use to describe it). We are refreshed by creation, and it puts us in touch with something, Someone larger than ourselves. Expressing that creativity allows the soul to speak.

Take a chance to find beauty today in the sparkling eyes of a child, a perfectly formed dandelion head, the arrangement of the clouds in the sky. Or remember where you were last time when the scenic vista created a feeling inside larger than yourself, and make arrangements to get there.

Allow yourself to restore your soul with beauty. Say “WOW” in an unutterable, incredible way.

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