From one citizen of the world to any of my fellows that might be reading, I feel it, too. As if every day the sun’s been rising lately the globe jolts another few degrees off its already-tilted axis. I say with no inclinations to be controversial that when it begins to feel as if certain homely dramatis personae like Violence, Mistrust, Hardship and Tension have taken to running amok across all the world’s stage, the easiest course of action is simply looking away.
I’ll never advocate for ignorance. Facts are friends, and isn’t it nice to make new friends? Looking away accomplishes nothing but the increase of comfortable divides, however, mindfully taking time to look elsewhere, too, might just prove beneficial.
As a resolution stretching far past the new year, I suggest, as one humble mode of peacefully combatting the negativity that creeps in, setting aside some daily moments to seek out beauty, in whatever form it takes for you. Perhaps popping into the local museum or string of art galleries on the regular is logistically impossible, but beauty abounds.
For starters, I think any of the artists we term geniuses today would prescribe a healthy dose of staring at Nature to sooth the inner savagery of any breast. And not just the sweeping, misty valleys that make for picturesque oil paintings, but the tiniest of details; the grace of the wispiest, shortest-lived cloud in a greying sky, how raindrops dot bus windows with mathematical precision, the fresh sheen on the scrubbiest patch of city grass after a flash rainstorm.
People make lots of lovely things as well. Watch their low budget films and binge-worthy miniseries, their plays and ballets and street pantomimes, cosy cooking shows, unsettling performance art, raw documentaries, fashion shows and Snapchat stories. Behold their pop-up photo exhibitions, their brushstrokes on whatever medium and interpretive dance numbers, back alley graffiti, nicely feng shui’ed interiors, unlikely yoga poses, killer senses of style, comical illustrations, well-manicured Instagram feeds, thoughtfully arranged floral bouquets…
Other senses suck up beauty just as easily; so give the busker in the tube station a second longer’s listen, attend concerts classical and orchestrated by crazy DJs. Inhale the aroma of that dainty puff of a canapé before swallowing it whole. Play the fool that bends down to let your palm really feel the milky coolness of a marble floor tile. Truly savour that first hearty forkful of the next meal someone else so generously prepares for you.
Every act of expression, creation or refinement is an admirable act of giving in itself, whether the result suits our taste or appears to us downright butt ugly.
To someone, the creator, even the butt uglies maintain worth and meaning. Two very beautiful things when we feel them ourselves.
If we can commit to a painless discipline of seeking out what appeals to our eyes, ears, tastebuds, nostrils and fingertips in what lies before us and within the cacophonous rainbow of what others have to contribute, perhaps we’d feel like dabbling first hand more often in things artistic and uplifting. As we pick up on more of the beauty lying in wait out there, and maybe claim authorship in helping new strains of beauty mushroom up in crannies of the earth it has never yet appeared, we might just begin to see more beauty inside the most problem solving of places — each other.