Thursday, March 08, 2007

the most beautiful thing

Last night when I started home from the gym, the moon was just rising. It occurred to me at first glance that the moon is the most beautiful thing. I had to ponder for the rest of the evening whether it was actually a beauty that it contained in itself. After all, it’s just a big round rock in space. It gives off no light of its own, it has no colorful atmosphere, and its complexion is quite pockmarked and scarred. To call it “crater-face” would be no cruel exaggeration.

So how is it that a round, gray rock is the most beautiful thing?
moon of winds
The whole “most beautiful thing” thought occurred to me because at that moment of first sighting, it was the only thing I could see, save the roof of the Piggly Wiggly that was serving as a flat, tar-covered horizon out of which the moon was emerging. So it’s just the moon, no terrestrial accessories to spice up the beauty. No, come to think of it there is a diffuse mist causing a soft, out-of-focus glow around the moon that even spills onto the tar horizon of the PW.
When I drove down our own street, it had risen above the mist, and shone clear and brightly and unobstructed. Still beautiful, alone in the sky. But wait, by herself, I’d not see her at all. There’s that sunlight splashing off her face at such an angle as to shadow her top, right corner, and cast shades of designs across her scarred face.
When I reached home, she was shining through the trees in the back yard and was more beautiful than before. I realized that she truly is dependent for her beauty. Her beauty is found in her interaction with an infinite array of other beautiful things.
It’s a give and take relationship. She causes the tree limbs to shimmer light and cast streams of shadow on the ground. The tree limbs playfully obstruct her visage and create a flirty glance as she peers down. She perches atop a mountain peak, spills reflected sunlight on a lake that illuminates the undersides of trees on the bank, peers between two buildings, shines upon the soft face of beautiful girl illuminating a cheekbone, and shadowing a slender neck.
Perhaps she’s the most beautiful thing because she’s the common denominator among so many beautiful things. Back home in the mountains, by the river, a Caribbean beach, in the Grand Canyon, the Arizona desert, my backyard – she’s the common beauty. Stealing beauty, adding beauty, interacting with beauty. Reflecting the light of another, and spreading it all around.